De-cluttering or attachment

Image for “De-cluttering or attachment”, GoGetter Coaching

With the new year just begun, my family has been fixated on the fact that we need to do some de-cluttering. Mind you, the fixation has only been on thinking about it. There has been zero fixation on doing it. Separation anxiety has set in.

There are large closets, a multitude of drawers, organizers and storage boxes around our home. Many of the contents of these receptacles belong to our children, some of whom don’t live with us anymore. However, their belongings linger on, lonely and unused, presumably till the end of time, if we let them. Our home curiously became their storage unit while they live in neat, lightly furnished, modern places.

There are size 13 skating boots, the likes of which have not housed such a foot for over a decade. There are books for teenagers, trophies that celebrate long-ago triumphs and raggedy stuffed animals that once provided comfort but now look like they need solace.

I came across an old hockey stick. My husband calmly informed me that if a burglar made an appearance, this would be a handy deterrent. Hah! Fat chance a harmless-looking hockey stick would scare a weapon-wielding intruder.

With great aplomb, I suggested de-cluttering to my husband. “Ok, let’s do it”, he warbled, from the depths of his guitar-tweaking, Bad timing on my part. He tends to focus more on the music made by the instrument than the “music” of my voice.

Next, I approached the kids. “Sure, mom”, they each chortled. “We’ll come by next week and clear up”. Two weeks later, though everyone pops in and out of the house, not one inch of space has been decluttered.

I set some guidelines – If you’ve not used something for over a year, it should be considered for exit. That part’s easy. Then you must decide whether to keep or donate it. Problem, they said, is that each thing carries so much nostalgia that it becomes a “keeper”. Memories of grandpa taking me to soccer games, that time I won the national lifeguarding competition, that cute blanket grandma sewed me. So year after year, these things remain.

I’m a minimalist, happy with a few personal belongings, and I love decluttering. I do understand that people have attachments, and that things have sentimental value. But no-one can explain why there’s a matchbox from 1993, with a tooth in it. Obviously, a long-forgotten memento meant for the Tooth Fairy. Nobody has attachment to a tooth that’s not attached to its owner, so out it goes.

But most of the stuff I fully expect to see next year. Separation anxiety will cause people to hang on to things …… for one more year. Another de-cluttering commitment will be made, and another ancient relic may be found in a vintage container. And who knows, it just might fetch me a million from eBay…..

Watch for my next article on how separation anxiety affects career decisions.

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