There are times when things (objects, projects) in our lives seem to fit the bill of clutter, but are hard to let go of. This is a time to be especially kind to yourself because there is usually a reason for holding on.
Sometimes, holding on to the past is a way of keeping the door open on a part of your life that is almost over. It is similar to being immersed in a book you really enjoy or strongly identify with. When the book ends, your experience of being a part of the story will end as well, and often there is a bit of reluctance to finish the story.
So, in your life, holding on to something may be needed in order to:
- give yourself permission to let go of a part of your identity that you’ve outgrown.
- allow time to absorb changes in your life.
- get closure on a part of your life that is over.
So when is it clutter? It is individual. No one else can really tell you what clutter is. For me clutter is an awareness of the ‘mind chatter’ attached to the item in question. Examples of mind chatter are self-criticizing, admonishing, and energy-draining, unpleasant thoughts that do not feel good. If there is no mind chatter, it isn’t clutter.
If something you’ve been holding on to you begins to ‘talk back’, you will know that you are getting close to being ready to release it. When the time is right, you will be ready to come to completion – whether it is finishing the project or finally letting something go. Until then, trust your feelings!
When I downsized my belongings five years ago, I gave away or disposed of nearly all of my Christmas decorations, keeping only those I truly loved.
I didn’t have a lot to start out with, but I did have a collection that spanned a few decades…what is it about holiday decorations that brings out the sentiment?
As we grow and change, our decorating tastes change to match. Often our homes reflect that growth, but holiday decorations tend to stay the same.
Each year there are beautiful new items in the stores we ‘must’ have — as well as any you might receive as gifts — and before you know it, the holiday ornament and decorating box is a large, complicated collection which takes a lot of space to store, a lot of time to put up, and confusion as you sort it all out each year.
This holiday season is a perfect time to de-clutter your holiday decorations and make life simpler.
- As you open each box of decorations or take out each item, ask yourself if you really love it and it if reflects who you are now.
- Consider photographing any decorations that are no longer ‘you’ but are difficult to let go of because of the memories they evoke. Let them go and treasure the photographs instead.
- Re-evaluate your recycling plans. Wrapping paper, ribbons and Christmas cards to be re-used? Re-using and recycling is a great idea, however I recommend you decide how much you keep each year, and give yourself a time limit for using them.
- How about those broken decorations or strings of lights with burnt out light bulbs you’ve been meaning to repair? For things that need repair or cleaning, give yourself a time limit to complete that task — resist the urge to put it back in the box to deal with next year!
- Package up the decorations that are still in good shape (please resist the urge to pass along the de-cluttering to someone else, especially a family member!) and make arrangements for its removal from the house.
Celebrate your success!
Wishing you love and joy during the holiday season and in the year ahead!