Emotional Hoarding

A question I’ve regularly asked myself is “why is it so difficult for me to get organized?”. It’s always been hard…organizing my belongings and keeping things tidied up is just not my strong suit. I used to brush it off as laziness or not having enough space for everything, but over the past few months I’ve begun to realize that the real problem is simply that I have too much stuff.

Easy solution, right? Just get rid of anything I don’t need, and then move on with my life. Super easy…except for the longest time I couldn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d want to get rid of all the excess, but every time I’d try to put something in the donate bag or the trash bin, I’d start to doubt myself on whether or not I really needed/wanted to get rid of it.

I started to realize that the reason I was having trouble getting rid of stuff was because I had become emotionally attached to things – and thus, began “emotionally hoarding” possessions. I couldn’t bear to get rid of things I had received for Christmas in previous years because I felt like I was betraying the people who gave them to me. I’d get sad thinking about getting rid of certain items of clothing or trinkets because they held such special memories of the times I bought them. I was so attached to things that it put me in a bit of a funk when I’d try to downsize my belongings and I’d just end up quitting.

Through a lot of prayer and talking with those closest to me, I started to see that just because the items were gone didn’t mean the memories or meaning were gone. I had enjoyed the gifts while I had them, and getting rid of them a few years later didn’t mean that I didn’t like them or that I would be offending the person who gave them to me. Things are just things, and it’s healthy to get rid of the excess to keep our lives simple and free of stress and clutter.

Now that I’ve broken the emotional ties I had with 80% of my belongings, I’m able to clean out and declutter my space with a clear head. It’s a supremely freeing feeling, and just one more positive step forward in my journey to live a more simple life. I’ve been going through my closet getting rid of clothes and accessories that I’ve barely used or that I was keeping around for the sake of fashion posts. I’m hoping to get a Kindle this Christmas so that I can donate my hundreds of books to the local libraries, freeing up more space in my room and getting rid of extra clutter. I’ve gone through everything I own and have donated everything I haven’t used in the past year or more. I love that out of this whole experience, I’m able to help my community by donating as much as I can. It makes me like nothing’s really going to waste since it can go to people that might need it. I am selling some of my clothes and accessories on eBay to make some extra Christmas shopping money, but other than that it’s all going to those in need! 🙂

I’m curious, have any of you ever dealt with “emotional hoarding” (as my gramma so perfectly named it)? Do you have any tips for downsizing, getting organized, or keeping a minimal space?


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