Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Avoid These Impulses During Decluttering

I wanted to share a couple of scenarios that relate to why we hold on to the things we do. Julie Morgenstern, in her book Organizing From the Inside Out discussed the pitfalls of "fantasy" and "sentimentality" as it related to kitchen gadgets and stuff, but they can be applied to all things in your house.

Fantasy is the place that you do all the scrapbooking, gourmet cooking, craft projects, home decor projects et al you say you're going to do. "Face it, if you haven't found the time yet, that's because you prefer investing it in other quality-of-life interests that are more important to you". This is the excuse we encounter when we say we're holding on to it for 'some day' when we get to it. Ask yourself how long you have held on to it. Be realistic. Fantasy clutter takes up space that could be clean/empty or hold day-to-day items. If you are holding on to supplies for these fantasy projects and tasks, toss or donate to someone who will make time to do them.

Holding on to sentimental items is a touchy subject, I know. Clients are hard-pressed to let go of items of special memory, and I don't just want to throw them away. What I want, and urge people to do, is to display things that are special, not keep them up in the attic in a dusty box. According to Morgenstern, "We all inherit flatware, dishes, silverware, and stemware that, for emotional reasons, we want to hang on to even tough we never use it." If you love it, show it or use it. And remember, just because you don't have the item anymore, it doesn't mean you won't have the memory of the person anymore -- physical objects only remind us; they are not a replacement for someone who you've lost. Why not keep 1 piece of a set instead of the whole set?