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Tuesday
May272014

Significance & Stuff

Chronic disorganization and organizing industry innovator, Judith Kolberg, said:

“. . . the most significant things you get from your parents are non-material. Nothing you could throw away would damage your love for your parents, because the love is non-material. It’s in your heart.”

In our conversations this month about clutter, we’ve also dialogued about letting go, making room for what’s important, freeing our minds, space, time and energy by reducing the “stuff” in our lives. Judith's quote focuses our attention on valuing the non-material more than the material. It's interesting to think about it in context of the struggle many of us experience with managing our possessions.

 

If clutter and letting go challenge you or someone you know, consider these questions:

  • Do your things overwhelm you?
  • Do you having difficulty letting go?
  • Is clutter blocking forward movement and growth?
  • Is clutter causing stress or anxiety?
  • What becomes possible when you let go?

 

When we have emotional attachments to our possessions, letting go can be more challenging. Maybe our things represent treasured relationships or conjure up memories from another time. There can be comfort and freedom in knowing that memories remain long after the stuff is gone.

I invite you to join the conversation. What are your thoughts about clutter, attachments, memories, or letting go?

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Reader Comments (11)

I think many people worry that without the object to trigger the memory, the memory will be lost. I advise my clients to take pictures of those items which trigger the memory. The pictures can be held on a CD or even printed into a book of memories. This helps to let go of the items cluttering up the space. This is an interesting topic of conversation. I look forward to hearing what others have to say.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

For many of my clients focusing in the emotional lift after letting go plays a vital role. First we create a powerful image of what they want life to feel like. Rather than the loss they experience of letting go, we focus on the joy of being unburdened.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Such powerful additions you bring to this conversation! Thank you.

@Diane- That's it, isn't it? We feel we need "the object to trigger the memory." However, as you said, taking a digital photo or creating a book of printed photos can be a way of preserving (triggering) our memories without holding on to our physical possessions.

@Ellen- What a great point to highlight…"the emotional lift" we can experience from letting go. Joy vs. loss focused. Wonderful!

May 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

There can be such guilt associated with letting go of things we've inherited or have been given to us by someone we love. However, I always tell clients to remember that no one would be happy to know that you cringe every time you look at something they gave you. So if you love it, keep it. But if you don't... and are keeping it only because you feel you should... then pass it on.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- Oh…the guilt factor! This is so significant and something that I also often encounter with clients. What we've been gifted is exactly that…a gift, OUR gift. Which means we have the right to choose what we do with it- guilt-free. Of course in practice that isn't as easy to do. I love the advice you give your clients: Let go of the "shoulds," the guilt and the cringing.

May 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Memories are in the brain not in the things. The problem is modern life has taught us to value more the object, the monetary value and the "happiness" derived from acquiring, touching, and owning stuff, we frequently forgot that the things don't make us special, we make things special. That power remains in our heart and mind. Letting stuff go isn't the same than getting rid of the grandparents, parents, children or friends, we're just addressing the physical object choosing to praise memories

Nothing is more vivid than a mental image that can bring us back, sensations, flavors, perfumes, feelings, etc.

Powerful questions you asked Linda.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

@Nacho- You bring up so many important ideas here. Our memories are with us long after the things have moved on. There are many ways to access our memories through the senses. We don't necessarily have to hold on to all the physical objects to keep those memories alive.

May 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I myself do not hold emotional attachment to things. I have my son's outfit we brought him home from the hospital and a blanket. I always tell my clients, if you have to keep the most important items and let the rest go. Most people do not have the room for "every" memory item. If your memory items are weighing you down, they are not a memory but a burden.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Jill- What an essential reminder you offer: "If your memory items are weighing you down, they are not a memory but a burden." Overwhelm, burden, stuck, sadness. If these are the words used to describe how we're feeling about our stuff, then rethinking their present value is a key step in freeing us from the weight.

May 28, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I completely agree with Ms Samuels. Thanks for sharing.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

You're welcome, Daniel. Thanks for joining us on the blog.

July 28, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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