Excessive clutter is often generated by two kinds of self indulgence.

Excessive clutter is often generated by two kinds of self indulgence – Acquiring too much and Feeling sorry for yourself.

Strong words I know but keep with me and I will explain what I mean. I speak from experience here so forgive me if those words sound harsh.

The first part of this statement is self-explanatory by sheer definition… Clutter – a confused multitude of things; fill a space in a disorderly way. Either we have over indulged in a multitude of things we don’t need to the point where we don’t even use most of them or cannot accommodate them easily in our space. AND/OR . We have not disposed of items as they have become redundant or perished (sometimes from lack of use)  nor stored these items in an orderly manner. I think that explanation describes clutter in both its forms, that is hidden clutter and messy clutter. Either way we have over indulged and/or been careless in our maintenance.

Now for the second part to this statement – Feeling sorry for yourself. There are so many ways that this issue manifests itself and sorry may not be the best word but with a little manipulation it sort of works for all categories. Keeping in mind that  self indulgence was the focus for the initial statement.

Some ways that feeling sorry for yourself causes clutter to build up in your living environment…

  • Retail Therapy – Buying stuff to make you feel better when you feel sorry for yourself. A common cause of the first part of the self indulgence issue, acquiring too much stuff.
  • Lethargy – A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy. This condition is often a result of  illness, depression, bad eating habits and lack of exercise just to name a few. All of these causes are bound to make you feel sorry for yourself. It often results in neglect of your belongings, your surroundings and quite often yourself causing a downward spiral that is harder to recover from the longer it is allowed to take hold.
  • AvoidanceFeeling sorry for yourself in advance causing unnecessary delays in tackling an unpleasant task. Especially a task that is hard to break down into smaller more manageable portions. Such as my hatred of cleaning my oven.
  • Denial -A situation where you  have had an intense period of justified self sympathy due to any number of causes – marriage breakdown, loss of a loved one, accommodation upheaval or loss of employment just to name a few – can quite often lead to a severe case of insecurity. Such cases can in turn lead to a tendency to hoard items that give you back a feeling of security – items that hold fond memories and useful items that you may need if you hit hard times again. Of course to you all these items are justified therefore it is easy to live in complete denial that you even have a clutter problem.

(Don’t miss the links hidden under each on of the heading above.)

I know I have fallen in the trap of lethargy and avoidance in the past and probably will again in the future. I find that when I have been ill or suffering from a bout of depression it is very easy to feel sorry for myself and neglect both myself and my duties. Most of the time I find that I don’t start feeling better until I shake myself off and decide just to make myself start behaving normally then before I know it I start feeling better. Sitting around feeling sorry for myself only seems to serve to make me feel worse and seeing my home fall apart around me doesn’t help the situation.

As for neglecting unpleasant jobs – who hasn’t been guilty of that? – I know I have. Yesterday when I starting writing this post just listening to my train of thought on the subject inspired me to get up and treat my motorbike leathers to a good feed of leather conditioner, a job that has been needing doing since we pulled them out of the shipping container the day we moved into this house three and a half years ago. I also sprayed out the oven so I could clean it today.  That is still a b***h of a job and it needs a second going over but I am getting there and it is a whole lot better today than it was yesterday. If anyone has any tips on roasting in an oven without make a huge mess please feel free to share them with me. I like my roasts to be crispy on the outside so I fear that cooking them in a closed baking dish will not allow this to happen but the mess I keep making of my oven is just not acceptable and I need to come up with a better plan.

  • a confused multitude of things
  • fill a space in a disorderly way

Today’s Declutter Item

Guitar cords are like iPod jack cords – they don’t last forever. One of those built in redundancy tricks I suppose.

Guitar Cord 24FEB2011

Before I start on my grateful list I would just like to send words of love and support and prayers to the people of Christchurch, New Zealand and anyone else affected by the recent earthquake. So far 75 are confirmed dead and there have been 300+ missing person reports lodged. Hopefully the numbers won’t be as high as that but at this point things are looking very grim. The rescue effort is being hampered by the threat of other buildings toppling. This must be heart breaking for those whose loved ones haven’t been recovered. My heart goes out to them and their families and I hope the nightmare of uncertainty ends for them soon.

I am grateful from anything that brings me joy. Below are five things that gave me joy today.

  • Being one day closer to the workmen being finished at my house. It is hard to get out and do what you want or need to do.
  • My air-conditioner is no longer sitting at the end of my bed but back on the balcony attached to its power supply and working.
  • My friend Liz took a whole car load of clutter to the thrift store today. Way to go Liz! Tomorrow we will have more to celebrate than just her birthday. Happy birthday Lizzy!
  • Finding time to do some crafting.
  • Making contact with some old friends through Facebook.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.



Continue reading with these posts:

  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Reaching into the Archives Cindy's Weekly Wisdom I revisted the archives from September 1, 2010 for this post. It was titled "Cindy's Take on Avoiding Recluttering." This time I have published it with gift buying […]
  • Day 356 Decluttering Resentment Cindy's Weekly Wisdom Audra is eight years old and a fashionista. The lucky girl gets hand-me-downs from her sister and her sister’s friend, plus she occasionally gets new clothes of her […]
  • Intentional Living by Deb J In my last post I talked about how I had been reading too much and needing to be more intentional with my reading.  This post I want to talk about being intentional about what we do so […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Colleen, I know this is not the answer you are looking for, but I am determined NEVER to have to clean an oven. And so, I do not use my oven. It is the one thing I will never have to pay part of my security deposit for because it remains as clean as the day I moved into the apartment.

    • Hi Rachel K,
      don’t worry that thought crossed my mind several times yesterday when I was cleaning it. Also the thought of “I wish my microwave would break down and then I would buy a convection microwave and could stop using the oven.” and “Maybe I could buy an electric frying pan and use that to roast in like my mother-in-law does. I also jokingly asked the builders if they had a blow torch handy with the idea that I could just pulverise the bits that weren’t coming off easily and the hard to reach places. 😆

  2. I have to encourage you to get some Scour Off paste made by Shaklee for your oven. I’m guessing there are Shaklee dealers all over the world along with the Shaklee website. Scour Off is totally non-toxic, smells like bubble gum and does a great job of removing awful crud from ovens. I just tried it for the first time last week and was very happy with the product. Nothing else I’ve ever used….baking soda, Comet, Easy Off, has worked as well as Scour Off. You don’t have to use a lot of it, but need to make sure to use plenty of water with it. Also, there’s no spraying and waiting hours for it to work so you can do sections at a time if you prefer. There are several websites which detail its use….http://creatingahouseofgrace.blogspot.com is a good one as she shares photos of nasty ovens from her readers as well as her own. There is still some scrubbing involved but some of my baked on gunk started coming off when I first applied the paste. For other areas, I had to scrub more but because I’m not breathing anything harmful, it wasn’t unpleasant at all. As for avoiding future spills, you can place a cookie sheet/baking pan under your roast pan to catch drips or place a piece of foil in the bottom of your oven like my mother-in-law does. With foil, you can dispose of it when it gets gross but if you use a pan, you’ll have to scrub it instead of the oven.

    As for clutter problems, I’m currently dealing with too much stuff that has been given to me by grandparents especially. For years, I was into the whole antique/country style of decorating so hand-me-downs from my grandparents fit perfectly. My decorating style has changed, my intolerance for dust collecting objects has escalated, and I’ve realized I don’t need objects from family when I have memories. The mementos and heirlooms are being passed along to other family members GLADLY.

    • Hi Lisa in NM,
      I will check out the Shaklee products. I am a happy lady when I find effective cleaning products especially if they are kind to the environment. I did not mention though that the bottom of the oven isn’t the problem the real issue is that the grill element in the top of the oven does not move out of the way for cleaning so anything the splatters on the top is very difficult to get at. I have had eight ovens in my married life and this is the first one that I have ever had issue with. It is very difficult to clean and get soiled so easily it is just be very badly designed.
      I like your attitude about the clutter from your grandparents. I also believe that one doesn’t need stuff to remember loved ones by. If you do get to the point where your memories go the things won’t help because the memory of whom they came from will also fade.

  3. Colleen,
    One possibility for keeping the bottom of the oven clean is to put a layer of aluminum foil down. When it gets too dirty, you just remove the foil. The downside is obviously the waste of throwing out (or recycling) the foil. Another option might be to create a ‘cone’ of foil around the baking pan to catch the sizzles and splatters.

    This was a good thoughtful post. And you are absolutely correct on all counts. And I’m guilty on at least two 🙂

    • Hi Willow,
      as I just wrote in reply to Lisa in NM the bottom of the oven isn’t the problem the real issue is that the grill element in the top of the oven it doesn’t move out of the way for cleaning so anything the splatters on the top is very difficult to get at. I have had eight ovens in my married life and this is the first one that I have ever had issue with. It is very difficult to clean and gets soiled so easily it is just be very badly designed. It also has a piece in the back that covers the fan and the oven element that has to be unscrewed and removed as well as the fan in order to clean it properly. The oven element also does not come off so that is something else that is very fiddly to clean around and under.
      Thank you for your tips though I think as you say that capturing the sizzles and splatters is my only hope.

  4. Thought provoking stuff as ever. I don’t suffer from no’s 1 and 4, but no. 2 is my biggest. I’m not sure depression is something that ever truly leaves you, but you eventually find ways to manage it and live with it. On an up time is when I feel motivated and determined to succeed with decluttering and it’s getting much easier, plus the spaces between low times are getting longer so I can get more done!
    I think 3 is often a result of 2 – they seem to go hand in hand…

  5. Thanks for your welcome too Cindy.
    Fatigue & lethargy have been my biggest problems, brought about by intermittant long term health issues. That, and combining households, in a small space, with a bit of a hoarder. But, I have definitely learnt that doing little bits each day does add up and create a bigger picture in time. And with jobs I feel overwhelmed by, I also break down into smaller parts or if it can’t be, I get to a point where I have to tell myself, don’t think about it, just do it.
    My oven also needs tackling. But I don’t use it much as I use a remoska instead. Much cheaper in electricty and cooks a succulent roast chicken to die for.
    I also have been learning how much easier it is to keep on top of everything if you have less of it in the first place.
    When I first started reading the archives, rather than start at the beginning, I decided to start with the one listed on my birthday. It was the one where your husband Colleen talks about the ‘just 6 things’ (to wear) website. I found this so inspiring, that two weeks ago I got rid of 70% of my wardrobe and it feels so liberating. It is now a very capsule wardrobe and I will be much more selective in the future of what I buy. It is so simple and easy to pick out what I am wearing in the morning.

    • Hi Kathleen,
      you are an inspiration and solid proof the the slow and steady approach works. Wow, I am impressed with you getting rid of 70% of your clothes. That certainly would make choosing your outfit in the morning easy. I have left my clothes to naturally declutter themselves since I don’t really think I own an excessive amount anyway. My husband has certainly culled his down and I notice my ironing pile is smaller because of it. He has been loosing weight recently though so I hope he won’t end up needing a whole new wardrobe.

      • well now I’m embarrassed, lol. Still plenty of decluttering to go. But it’s lovely to share the satisfaction and pleasure with others in finally getting down to it properly.
        With my clothes,I don’t think by some women’s standards I owned that many, but I was doing the typical wearing 20%, 80% of the time and owned a number of things I never felt good in, but as I owned them, felt obliged to wear them. I also had a a number of clothes I’ve not worn for 8+ years that I kept saying…it will look lovely when I find the right top to go with it.. I’ve also lost weight over the last 6 months.

        You guys down under have had some really bad times weather wise: we have had a lot of coverage here of the floods and now the earthquake:O(

        Time for bed here. Good night all.

        • I hope I didn’t word something wrong there to embarrass you, if I did I didn’t mean to. I have a bit of a problem with foot in mouth disease at times and I just hope most people understand that and give me a little leeway. 😉
          I am starting to think that there is always going to be some decluttering to do. I am hoping though that if I make the right purchase choices now that most things will fit into the natural decluttering range because I use them until they are worn out. Time will tell.

          • Not at all Coleen! It’s me being a self effacing brit at being called an inspiration,lol. Embarrassment is ok – praise and admiration always welcome :O)

            • Hi Katharine,
              like I just said to Eve you only have to say just the right thing to the right person and it can make a big difference to their lives. Everyone who comments here have that potential and we all appreciate any glimmer of inspiration we can get. So thank you and keep on commenting.

  6. Thanks for the mention of the Christchurch earthquake Colleen. I am an ex-Christchurch girl and my 84 year old mother still lives there alone, about 8km from the epicentre, and she is currently without power, water or phone for the third day now. Thank God for her kind neighbours, who have been looking after her. Once again, it is a reminder to me that material possessions don’t really matter – only people.

    • Hi Calico ginger,
      my heart goes out to you and your mother it must have been so frightening for her during the event and still as the aftershocks keep coming and the living situation is difficult without power and sewerage. You must also have been frightened until you could contact your mother and make sure she was ok. My prayers are with you, your mum and your family.
      I can imagine how difficult it must be for the families whose loved ones are still missing. When Liam was in his comma and we had no idea what would become of him it was terrifying and it still chokes me up when I think of the moment we walked into the ICU on the fifth day and found him awake. I hope more people get to experience the joy to find their loved ones still alive and rescued. The roller coaster doesn’t end there though so they will need all their strength. The one thing I can’t imagine is being trapped and knowing time is running out, my mind doesn’t even want to go there.

    • Calico ginger:
      WOW!!! THANK YOU…”material possessions don’t really matter – only people”. AMEN to that!

  7. Ouch. This post has my name written all over it. I can list several items of clutter which fits perfectly in every catagory. Luckily, I still had some sense while buying clutter – most of my clutter are showergels, scrubs and body butters. So, it would be gone… once.

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      I got my toiletries under control when I knew I would be returning from the USA to Australia. Because they could not go in the removal I started using them up during the six months notice we had that we were moving. Now I only buy replacements when the one I am using is running out. Unfortunately people still buy them for me as gifts at times but that is OK. I can always re-gift or us them up. Shower gel, shampoo and bubble bath also make good liquid hand soap which is how I use up most of that type of product. Moisturisers are a problem though.

  8. I love your arse-kicking posts Colleen:-)

    I definitely suffer from lethargy, being a naturally idle person. It’s part of my personality type (Nine in the Enneagram http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/intro.asp). However, once I get going, I *really* get going! Decluttering is a good example of this; once I start, the momentum keeps me going, until I crash. Then it’s hard to start up again. Once I realised that about myself, I’m finding it easier to get motivated 🙂 BTW, the Enneagram is fascinating! I’ve learned heaps about myself and others through studying it (but be warned, it’s highly addictive).

    • Hi Loretta,
      and I appreciate your honesty. Both in declaring your idleness and telling me my post was arse-kicking. I do mean that too I am a firm believer in honesty I would rather people were up front with me than leave it to my far too vivid imagination to assume what they are thinking. It has really never occurred to me that some people have no control over the fact that they are more idle than others and have to push themselves harder to get things done. Personalities are many faceted and intriguing aren’t they. Thank you for that you have given me something to think about.
      I took a look and did the free Enneagram test twice. There were a lot of questions that neither answer fitting for me but I picked one anyway. The first time I came up as a 6 and then I went back and checked the other choice on the ones I was undecided about the first time and came up with a 7. Both mixed together seems to suit me well.

    • Hello from me too Loretta, you have pretty much described my style as well – it’s either lethargy or full speed ahead, until burnout almost. I’m currently at that stage and keep going, unsuccessfully, to this week’s Colleen’s Minim Mission as it had my name all over it – I have a room that I hate opening the door to and I know she had provided the right plan to deal with it.
      It’s amazing how things suddenly make so much sense once someone finds the right words to describe the situation. And you’re right, becoming aware of it makes it a lot easier to get motivated. Thank you for making it clearer to me, and of course big thanks to Colleen for her practical and no-nonsense posts.
      I am very much looking forward to studying the content behind the link you posted.

      • Hi Ornela,
        there are very few actual topics when it comes to decluttering and I must have approached each one form about 50 different angles since I started this blog. The beauty of that is that one can say the same thing over and over again but one day you choose just the right words that resonates with someone and it can change their life. So I will happily keep repeating myself so long as people care to listen in the hope that I can make a difference not only in their lives but for the sake of our planet.

        • Thanks Ornela and Colleen! I honestly used to think there was something wrong with me, as everyone else around me was always rushing about, doing stuff (and oftern pretty pointless stutt, to my mind!) while I was happy to just sit there and read a book 🙂 I once read – by Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler magazine and website (www.idler.co.uk)- that an idle person was an organised person, and that galvanised me into action: I thought if I didn’t spend so much time looking for my car keys/wallet/paperwork whatever, I’d have more time to read 😉 So that started me on the decluttering path, with results I’d never dreamed of.

          • Hi Loretta,
            I have always been a believer of concept smart lazy. That way you stay organised with little effort. Know the easy, most competent way of doing something makes for a lot less work. It stands to reason also that the less crap you have the less work is involved in maintaining it.

  9. Colleen I just love your blog. Your post today really struck a cord with me and I am going to really take it on board. I have to assume I am in the denial cateogry. Will have to work on that.

    Re the cleaning I’m sure you have tried the old bi-card and vinegar? It’s a bit slow but it works for me. Who doesn’t hate cleaning their oven though??

    • Hi Wendy,
      welcome to 365lessthings I don’t believe you have commented before and I certainly appreciate you taking the time to do so and for reading my blog. I am glad you enjoyed today’s post I had to write it carefully so as not to offend anyone. I hope I was successful. It can sometimes be a fine line between striking a cord and slapping someone in the face and I do my best not to deliver the later.
      I did try the bi-carb and vinegar approach on my oven but it was not effective enough although the sizzling sound it makes sure does sound like it ought to be doing something. Thanks for the tip anyway and please drop in often and share your wisdom with us.

  10. I think it’s important to clarify that there is depression, and then there is clinical depression. Clinical depression cannot be overcome with willpower. Medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are usually necessary just to get to the place that most of us take for granted every day. Once a person gets there, though – you have covered the other issues of lethargy, worry, habit, etc. very well!

    Loretta – I like your description of being “a naturally idle person”. That’s me, too. Even as a kid, I preferred quiet, sedentary pastimes. And I, too, tend to go at things too hard and spend too much time recovering. So the thing-a-day approach works well to avoid that.

    Calico ginger – you must be very worried about your mother in spite of the good neighbours. I hope things improve for her soon.

    • Hi Jo,
      Yes, there are certainly different degrees of any sort of mental condition and I am not sure that any of them can be overcome with willpower alone. Although last September I had little choice but to use that willpower when I had a bad reaction to the anti-depressant I had taken successfully in the past. Just what I needed to go along with the bladder infection that wouldn’t go away just when I was flying out to Europe of a months vacation. I think the medicine I really needed was the vacation because once I got away from it all I began to feel a whole lot better. My heart goes out to people like my young nephew and the son of a very good friend of mine who both suffer from different degrees of schizophrenia. I always feel that metal health issues are the worst kind of illness to deal with not only because there is no real cure but because of the internal battle that is constantly going on inside ones head.

  11. David | Listen Feel Breathe :

    Hi Colleen, good article makes me stop and think about what might be adding to my clutter.

    I think the 2 biggest things for me are lethargy and avoidance especially when combined together. If I am too tired and I see something I know I should do- I avoid it and pick something easier. Problem is the clutter is still there at the end of the day and still needs to be done.

    Sometimes best thing to do is to take a break, have a rest, go for a walk, get inspired then come back and take care of it straight away

    • Hi David,
      I actually consider tidying and decluttering as exercise. When I feel I have been spending too long on my laptop blogging and answering comments I drop everything and get up and find a chore to do. It gets the blood flowing, keeps me fit and even sane sometimes. I hate being idle and need to get up and move on a regular basis and since I am up I may as well be doing something useful. That’s not to say that I don’t go to bed and leave the dirty dishes on the sink occasionally. Even I run out of giddy-up sometimes.

  12. Hi Colleen,
    Thank you for continuing to inspire me with your words and wisdom! Clutter: feeling sorry for self; acquiring too much. BINGO! Both of those hit me directly between the eyes!

    Thanks for waking me up. 😉

  13. it’s always good to see reasons behind things explained, these were really useful. once you have seen them it becomes easier to tackle the problem. i think i’ve been guilty of them all. especially avoidance, which in regards to tidying as the longer i live in a mess the worse i feel and its so quickly rectified!
    ps. a tip regarding the guitar cable, a friend of mine of worked setting up music equipment and such once said that cables don’t aprreciate being tightly coiled, it raises the risk of the wires breaking and the cable no longer functioning. he asked me to halve it until it was a managable size. not sure if that does make a difference to their durability!

    • Hi SSC,
      yes as Loretta and I think Annabelle said sometimes we have to be slapped in the face with an idea to understand what ought to be simple logic. That is one of the things I love about writing my blog ~ a reader will make a comment and it will send me off on a tangent of ideas that hadn’t occurred to me before. I then wonder why I hadn’t thought about it that way. Then I get to share it with everyone else in the form of a blog post. Sometimes I am afraid I will offend someone but then I think if it benefits more people that the one I might offend it is worth taking the risk and I do try to be diplomatic.

      I would imagine winding the cords up too tight would cause a wire breakage problem but more likely in this case it is just a careless teenage boy problem. Thanks for the tip though.

  14. Hi Colleen, I discovered 365lessthings in April and it inspired me to declutter about a carboot load of things. I knew I was moving to a smaller flat which also motivated me. But I was still shocked at how many possessions I have when I saw them in my new place. I need to get rid of some furniture but it’s hard for sentimental and insecurity reasons. I just couldn’t do it before I moved. I have avoidance and lethargy issues. I have lots of boxes of things sitting around and don’t know what to do with them especially when I declutter items of furniture. I knew I wasn’t quite finished decluttering before I moved but now I need to start again. The hard part is making decisions. I get so attached to objects! Help! 365lessthings has been a big help so far and interesting, enjoyable, thought provoking, encouraging etc and I will continue to read it to help with avoidance and lethargy. That described me too!

    • Hi LenaC and welcome to 365 Less Things. If seems that you have been forced into decluttering due to your change of circumstances. This has you rushing into decisions you are not yet ready to make. Think positive and just do what I do and work on it one thing at a time. Here are some things I would consider in your position.

      1. I would let go of the furniture that just isn’t going to fit. If moving into are large place isn’t likely in the next six months I wouldn’t consider putting items into storage because it doesn’t take long for the storage rent to overtake the value of the items stored. There are always places where I can buy cheap secondhand furniture if I found I had a need for it should I move again.
      2. Once the excess furniture is gone I would just work on emptying one box at a time. Empty a box and declutter the items I feel most comfortable about parting with first. Then fit what is left into the remaining storage space.
      3. I would do this with each of the boxes until they are all empty. As I put away the items from the subsequent boxes I would eliminate other items I have already sorted through and stored previously in order to fit the now more favoured items in. Always choosing the least loved, least useful or most overabundant items to declutter as I go. Hopefully getting more ruthless as time wears on.
      4. I like to Look outside the box when it comes to where I house things. There is no reason why linen, DVDs or stationery can’t be kept in the kitchen cabinets if that is where they fit best for instance.
      5. Once you have managed to fit and declutter the items out of all boxes you can then start a slower and more methodical declutter of your new home.

      This is pretty much the exact method I used when I last moved. In fact it took about three months before the last box was emptied. We donated several large items immediately because we just needed the space I then had a garage sale. Luckily we had a two car garage but only one car so there was room to store the garage sale items until I was ready. Then I slowly decluttered some more to make things fit more comfortably donating to my local thrift store as I went. In my case I didn’t really start to do the real fine tuning declutter like I am doing now until two and a half years later when hubby and I decided that ultimately we wanted to downsize sometime in the future and it is best to deal with the excess now rather than find ourselves in the same situation as we had dealt with with this last move. Now the more I declutter the more ruthless I become and the more items I want to release. To the point that I don’t know when this will ever end.

      You LenaC have the opportunity not to waste the two years I did and realise now that material possessions aren’t everything. The less you want for things the freer you become. You can do this I know you can. And if you need more advice please feel free to ask. Just remember my advice is from my own experiences and it is up to you to make your own decisions. Should you feel you need professional advice please do so.

      • Thanks Colleen, that is helpful. I had enough notice before moving to a smaller home and got rid of a lot of stuff but not enough. I kept things for lots of the reasons covered in this website. It becomes obvious when you read about yourself! I only moved less than a month ago. I keep thinking that I just need to put up lots of shelves but I don’t want to create storage space unless it’s needed. I DID think of storing things in places they weren’t designed for esp the kitchen as it has excess cupboard space. I don’t need professional advice as your blogs, the comments and real-life experiences are enough. When I go to shops now I don’t buy much more than food and toiletries because I see ‘nice things’ as tomorrow’s clutter. I get attached to them. Sentimental attachment is my biggest problem, and hanging on to old items and that includes furniture. I can’t decide what furniture to let go to make the space less crowded! But I’ll read through the archives for inspiration.

        • I am sure you will find plenty of posts on sentimental clutter. Just type Sentimental into the search bar in the right margin and I dare say at least a half a dozen post links will appear. Owning sentimental items is fine so long as you know where to draw a line. I like functional sentimental items like the two gold milk glass mugs I use on a regular basis. They aren’t actually the ones from my grandmothers house but they do remind me of those days. If they broke would I be devastated, no there would just be two less mugs to choose from. It seems your sentimental furniture items are functional but just don’t fit so that makes it a little difficult for you to justify keeping them. I look at sentimental items like this ~ I will never forget the time, the place or the person without an item to remind me so it doesn’t really matter if the item is decluttered. I wouldn’t even care if someone stole my wedding and engagement rings because after 25 years of marriage I am never likely to forget the wonderful part my husband played in my life even if he was sadly no longer around (Luckily for me he still is). Stuff isn’t what life is about, people and experiences are what matter.

          • My long white dressing table is something I think will be easier to get rid of because it has bad associations too. It’s still in good enough condition for someone else to enjoy. In the meantime, I have got rid of a few large items that were getting in the way, since last month – a huge suitcase, keyboard (musical instrument), laundry basket (and some smaller items.) It is true that with things you thought you’d never get rid of, you find yourself doing it and having no regrets. And there’s lots more ‘on my radar.’

  15. I have made big improvements since my last post. I have a box in the hall for things to leave the flat and it has been full and emptied a few times. I have also organised the rest better, making the place generally more user-friendly. It feels so good when you get rid of things that you thought you wouldn’t. As for getting rid of sentimental items, I have thought of getting rid of some by thinking ‘This item reminds me of that same time so I’ll get rid of the other items that prompt the same memory. I had a big, very heavy radio/cassette/cd player that wasn’t working anymore and I hung on to it because I had fond memories of when I bought it. Certain songs prompted these memories and when I realised that those songs were enough it made it far easier to get rid of the music player, especially as I listen to and love the songs anyway. I’m glad I didn’t end up dragging it to my new home! Still more sentimental items to go.