Emotional Responses to Your Stuff

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

If you struggle somewhat with your stuff you may think of 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, you are looking at the clutter or thinking about how to organize or discard items.


There are also positive emotions like pleasure, comfort, safety 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.

Would you like to dive deeper? Would you like to start making some progress on decluttering and organizing your home?  We will be looking at what is underneath the clutter, emotions and feelings that come up, attachments to items, and thoughts and actions that follow.

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Please add any comments, questions, etc. Also, I would love it if you can share with a friend who might benefit from this. Thank you so much for following along.

About Kim

Kim Tremblay is a Master Organizer and a Clutter Coach. She has worked with individuals helping them clear the physical and emotional clutter from their lives since 2008. Kim founded and co-facilitated a Clearing Clutter Support Group which has helped hundreds of individuals to make positive changes in their lives. Kim is currently working virtually with clients helping them to clear the emotional and/or physical clutter from their lives. Kim is available to speak to your group about all things organizing.
This entry was posted in acquiring items, chronic disorganization, compulsive acquiring, De-Clutter Your Life, difficulty Discarding, Emotional Clutter, Inspiration, mental health, Organizing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Emotional Responses to Your Stuff

  1. Seana Turner says:

    I think this duality is what makes our relationship with physical belongings so complicated. We are stuck in the middle of a tug-of-war between a desire or connection to keep something, and the need to live simply and be free of encumbrances. It can be very helpful to dig deep into this reality, and help pull apart the enmeshed emotional connections. What a great idea to have a challenge!

    • Kimberley says:

      Thanks Seana
      Really great play on words. Love this “duality is what makes our relationship with physical belongings so complicated”. I might use some of your words too if you are okay with it. I could quote you and also Linda above. Thanks again

  2. I like the fact that you talked about positive emotions regarding how we respond to our ‘stuff.’ It’s often that we use negative sounding words when discussing the decluttering process. You offered your reader an important reminder that decluttering can lead to feelings of pleasure, comfort, safety, and satisfaction. You don’t have to ride the decluttering roller coaster with your eyes closed–there are positive feelings to be found along the ride!

    • Kimberley says:

      Yes, this is so true and this also adds to the confusion about acquiring too much stuff, keeping the clutter around and difficulty with discarding. Thanks for posting.

  3. I feel badly when I buy something then don’t end up wearing or using it. It’s happened enough times that I’m very selective now about what I bring home.

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Janet, Yes I can sure relate to that. I am pretty discerning about what I bring home as well. I really need to love it and know that I need it.

  4. We have a complicated relationship with our stuff. There are the things we use, love, and bring joy. There are the things that we’ve outgrown, take up mental and physical energy, and make us anxious or sad. The beautiful thing is that when we’re ready to identify those treasures and let go of the weight of rest, it can be life-changing. When I was clearing out my parents’ home, I couldn’t keep everything. So I hunted for the treasures and made my peace with letting the rest go (via to family, donations, sale, or trash.) It took a lot out of me to get through everything, but when I finished, I felt lighter.

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