Have you ever heard the expression ~ Can’t see the forest for the trees. Here is an explanation of this expression according to About.com…
Definition: overly concerned with detail; not understanding the whole situation
Explanation: Used when expressing that a person is focusing too much on specific problems and is missing the point.
When it comes to clutter though this expression manifests in reverse. That is, people can’t see the trees for the forest. Or explained simply in clutter terms ~ Can’t distinguish the individual items of clutter from the sheer bulk of their possessions. Or more to the point they are paralysed by the magnitude of the task of decluttering and can’t see that all they have to do is pick out one item here and one item there until they can begin to see the progress they are making.
This paralysis if mostly caused by one, more or all of the following restraints…
Emotional Attachment ~ When things have been acquired over a lifetime, either personally or given by a loved one, emotional attachments are often forged. Once all these items have amassed it is easy to think we are attached equally to it all of them and not realise that among the bulk (the forest) there are things (individual trees) that are of less importance to us than others. We therefore can’t bring ourselves to “rape” the forest when in fact all we are doing to thinning out the excess trees to allow the light to illuminate the remaining ones so they can thrive and the forest is better and healthier for it. Or in terms of possessions ~ remove the less loved stuff to allow you to see and enjoy the items you really love and have a tidier, cleaner, happier and therefore healthier environment to live in.
Worth ~ We often squander our money accumulating items that we ultimately don’t get the true value out of. As a result we tend to find them difficult to declutter without feeling we need to redeem some of that wasted cash. This is all very well and good if you get on and do something about it. But more often than not this is a real stumbling blocks for people when it comes to decluttering. They look at the sheer bulk of the task of selling these items and it adds a “too hard” factor to the equation and avoidance is the result. We also kid ourselves that all the items in our possession are of value because we might need them someday or they might increase in value given more time.
The question to ask yourself is what is the value of your peace of mind. How much are you willing to pay for the serenity of having the task behind you and just being rid of the stuff. Wouldn’t it be better to donate it all or sell it off cheaply and quickly and get on with your life.
If you are willing to make the effort once again ignore the forest (bulk of the stuff) and start weeding out the scrawny trees (the items of less value). Donate them to charity and sell the rest. Or If you are able why not have a yard/garage sale where you can sell off the lesser stuff cheaply and only accept good offers for the better stuff. Should the better stuff not sell find another avenue for selling where you will redeem a better price. Auctions, ebay, CraigsList, advertise in the newspaper etc. This is a compromise that will earn you some extra cash but actually make progress on reducing the clutter.
Laziness ~ So often I hear the excuse of ~ “I really need to declutter but I am just too busy.” ~ only to later discover that the person proclaiming this is an avid reader, movie or television watcher, crafter or the like that spends hours consumed by their pastime and not so much their duties. This is all very well and good, everybody needs something to unwind by or enjoy doing but leisure time is just that leisure time should not be an all consuming monopoliser of your time or an avoidance tactic.
Once again the thought of all that decluttering (the forest) is unappealing so we retreat into our other pastimes whether deliberately or unconsciously. We delude ourselves that we are spending our time productively when really we are just avoiding the task and fooling ourselves that we are being productive. Just ten minutes a day to put aside one item (the trees) is all it takes to get the job under way. That isn’t a lot of time to subtract from the other activities you enjoy doing. Use those activities as a reward once the task is done rather than a retreat.
So the moral of this story is to not focus on the entirety of the task at hand. Just find that one thing a day starting with the easy things first and before you know it you will able to appreciate the joys of living with less.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter a lazy clutter item ~ Something you have no real attachment to, you just haven’t got around to getting rid of it.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is one of the things in my home whose removal was delayed due to wanting to redeem some of the money wasted on it. The time span between deciding to declutter it and actually selling it on ebay really didn’t bother me. I am simply satisfied that I did redeem some of my lost cash. The difference between this situation and the one I described above is that once I decided it was to go I put it aside to sell. The decision was made and the process begun and during the time between owning and selling it I am still busy decluttering other things.
Eco tip for the day
Hang your clothes to dry when possible rather than wasting power using a tumble dryer. A clothes line isn’t required, I mostly hang my wet washing on an airer either inside or out depending on the weather.