Doing Life Together

ID-10036003Is your closet a window into your mental health? Are you what you wear? 

Does saving your old college sports uniform remind you of the glory days of your life? 

How about those hundreds of books you will never read again, but can’t bring yourself to part with them? 

Maybe closer to home is that bin of children’s clothes that brings tears to your eyes. How could you give those away? 

Maybe you just find it difficult to part with things you MIGHT use or that have some meaning.

But what does all the clutter say about you?

What you save and hold onto may reveal some of your deepest thoughts and feelings. Sometimes clutter can indicate a focus and organizing problem. People with ADHD, OCD or even dementia have trouble organizing.

Maybe you have trouble making decisions because of, What if…You obsess on the possibility of needing it later.

Or maybe, just  maybe, you will lose those 10 pounds and need that dress that is hanging there with the tag still on it.

Perhaps you’ve watched episodes of Storage Wars and saw how many people throw out valuable items but didn’t know it. You don’t want to be one of those people and miss the chance to cash in big!

Stop! Pause! Help yourself by a little self talk like this, “Someone else can use this stuff now.” “The likelihood that I have a real gem in my hoarding is slim.” Or “The item may be so old, I wouldn’t want it even if I could use it again.”

One of the biggest reason we hold on to clutter is that something in the clutter has sentimental meaning. “If I throw away that toy, I lose my daughter’s childhood forever.” “If I clean out the garage, then the divorce feels very final.” Holding on means not letting go! Let’s all sing the theme to “Frozen” right now. “Let it go… Let it go…”

If all the clutter is distressing you, look at the psychology behind holding on to it. What would it mean to give it away and down size the closet or storage bins? Your clutter may be telling you that you are too perfectionistic, obsessive, disorganized, overly sentimental, worried, and/or having trouble closing out the past. You might even be a hoarder, a legitimate psychiatric disorder now.  So if your living quarters are so cluttered it causes you distress, get some help.

Take a look at that closet. What is it saying about you?


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