Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keeping Too Much Stuff Makes Clutter

Simple BountyI have a tendency to keep...well, everything.  It is probably one of the things I struggle with most.  I am a huge saver of things that may be used, or may be needed, or may be of use to someone.  Rather than fill our space and home only with items that are of use to us now or have a specific purpose of use, I have filled it with things that may be useful.  Some day.  By someone.  It. Just. Doesn't. Make. Sense.

If I had some noble reason for saving it maybe it wouldn't feel like quite such a burden weighing on me.  But I don't.  It is simply an inability to part with stuff.  Not because I want the items or think they are particularly useful.  Not even because it makes sense to keep it for any reason really.  Being a saver of 'stuff' has become a millstone.  

The trouble with all this stuff I save for use at some indefinable time is how much it hinders us from being able to enjoy our space in comfort and ease.  There is clutter and piles making some areas difficult to organize because they are overrun with too much.  The result is unrest for all.  Things cannot be found easily or quickly.  Mess is left because putting it away is not simple. 

As the accumulation has happened, in a way, I felt somewhat of a spectator watching it grow.  There have been some very legitimate reasons why I haven't tackled the problem head on over the years (we had five babies in 5 1/2 years) as well as some lame excuses (I just don't know how to deal with it).  Although I have turned a blind eye to it at times, the need to do something has never been far from the surface of my mind and I have spent vast quantities of time thinking about my problem even though I have never quite tackled the problem itself. 

I know there are two root reasons why I keep stuff.  The first is my list of "What if's..."  What if we need it someday?  What if the boys want to play with it again?  What if someone else could use it?

The second reason is emotional attachment.  If any of us have used the object or my children made it, played with it, touched it, I feel I must keep it.  Even mysterious tiny bits and pieces must be kept in case something we've used needs that part to fix it.  Or, what if one of the boys find a need for it in one of their projects.

Rationally I know none of it really makes sense or is a good reason to hold on to an object.  But that is the thing, it's not something that is rational.  It is something that is emotional.  Something that is an ingrained part of me that is not easy to change because it cannot be thought through.  It is felt.

Most of the time I am able to assess the items I see as excess and acknowledge they are unnecessary for our home, yet I keep them anyway.  Again, in my time spent thinking about it rather than doing anything about it, I believe my emotional attachment to things stems from two things: 1.  learned behavior and 2.  Decision Fatigue.

With the first, learned behavior, I watched my mom make do with little for much of the time.  As a result, she saved as much as she could so she could offer things to help her children.  She doesn't want us to have to live as she did for so long.

The second, Decision Fatigue, is the direct result of being mostly responsible for making many decisions on an ongoing basis for many little people and being sleep deprived a great deal of the time.  As decision-making has never been a strong skill for me, the overload and overburden with so many littles caused my ability to make decisions about anything not pertaining to daily living to shut down.

But the biggest thing I've learned through all my soul-searching about my inability to part with stuff is simple.  My action, or rather my inaction, is impacting my children in many negative ways.  They are learning by my bad example.  And ready or not, I need to start making some serious changes in my behaviors so I can set a much healthier example for my children.


  1. You can do it! One thing at a time!

    And trust me, I understand the struggle. I have STUFFED closets that I've needed to tackle for years but it's just so overwhelming...

    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

      And right back at you for your stuffed closets. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind often applies to these piled places in our homes and lives, right? Yet they linger in the backs of our minds until we finally face the overwhelm and come out on the other side - organized and tidy :)


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