Emotional Responses to Our Clutter – Week 3

When you think about your stuff what kinds of emotions come up?

If you struggle somewhat with your stuff you may think of these negative emotions right away. They may include feelings of fear and anxiety, grief and loss, sadness, guilt and anger or perhaps just feeling overwhelmed with it all. Some of these feelings may come up when you are handling your possessions, you are thinking about where to put items, how to organize or discard items.

and

There are also positive emotions like pleasure, comfort, or satisfaction. For example, finding a lost treasure, (ie: something that has been missing for awhile) finding a found treasure (ie: at a thrift shop), finding a bargain, giving something away to someone who will enjoy it or even donating to a worthy cause.

I like to use the example of finding an amazing treasure at a thrift shop, feeling like you are on a high, bringing it home and then thinking “where will I put this” or looking at your finances and thinking “oh no, now what will I do for groceries for the rest of the month?”

Both the negative and positive emotions can keep us stuck in the cycle of acquiring stuff, moving stuff around aka churning (as opposed to finding a home for the item or letting it go) and difficulty discarding.  It often is about the avoidance of the uncomfortable feelings associated with taking these steps to make change.

We always do a Needs vs Wants exercise and this session we had participants do the work right there during the group.  It can make such a difference to take the time to do this right there and then and we always hope that people will have some ah ha moments.  This time they did not disappoint as there was some great discussion.  Do you ever think about this when you are about to purchase something?  Do I really need this or do I just want it?  hmmm?   Here is something that can help in that moment….

So, how did I do with my challenge?  Well, I am loving my new habit of getting off the couch and doing something every evening- anything really – just something small that makes a difference.  I really feel like I am working on a new habit for myself which is awesome.  My other challenge was to clean off my dresser and I have to admit I did not do this.  It will happen this week my friends.  It needs to be done!

One gentleman in the group talked about the fact that he felt like a failure because he had not done his challenge to his expectation.  He thought about this a lot over the week, it likely really stressed him out and he had an awareness of what was going on with his thought process.  Maybe his challenge was too big (which we always caution) but the important thing is that he is showing up, he is doing the work, he is aware and  he is trying to figure out what to do next.  We do have a mantra in our group which is “Small is Huge” so anything you can do to start to make a change is amazing.  Coming to this group and showing up is amazing.

Next week participants will be bringing in items that they know they want to let go of but are having difficulty parting with.  We will have other members of the group ask each person questions about the item in question.  In the end it will be up to each person as to what they plan to do with the item.  Such a great exercise.  I can’t wait.

Thank you so much for following along with our group process.  What emotions does your clutter bring up for you? Please comment below…..

 

About Kimberley

I am a Case Manager at My Sisters' Place which is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association London Middlesex. My Sisters' Place is a program for vulnerable women. I love my job and all the wonderful women I work with. I am very honored to do this work with women who have been through so much and are so open in sharing their stories. I initiated and designed a Clearing Clutter Support Group which I have been facilitating since 2007 with a co-worker. I love running this group and learn so much from the participants. We offer this eight week program three or four times a year. I started my business Space For You in 2010 and work with individuals in their homes as well as offer some workshops in the community. I am available to speak to groups on "De-Cluttering Your Life", "The Magic of De-Cluttering", "Space Clearing" or really anything to do with clutter and hoarding.
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6 Responses to Emotional Responses to Our Clutter – Week 3

  1. The conversation about “too much stuff” has been coming up more and more lately, especially among my friends. Maybe it’s our age or just our years of collecting, but we all seem to be at the stage where we want less in our lives…that de-possessing phase. I love the ideas you’ve shared about the ways our emotions are connected to our things and how that can help or hurt the way we acquire and/or let go.

    • Kimberley says:

      Thank you Linda. Yes, I agree. It is the same for me and my friends. Its all about letting go of stuff and having less. It is interesting to think about what feelings our stuff brings up for us though and how it can keep us stuck or attached to it.

  2. Seana Turner says:

    I love that mantra, “Small is Huge.” That is pretty powerful… might have to share that out!

    • Kimberley says:

      Thank you – YES!! So often people say “I only did this small thing” or all they can do is look at what they didn’t do. We love this mantra “Small is HUGE”. Thanks Seana

  3. That sounds like a very interesting exercise! I hope you’ll be able to share more information about how that goes.

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