Emotional Clutter

afghanIn an old episode of Friends, a snarky boyfriend of Phoebe remarks to Monica, as she crams cookies into her mouth, “They’re just food; they’re not love.”

Ouch. The truth hurts.

Our emotions impact everything we do, whether we’re aware of it or not. Emotions are the force behind what we say, what we value, and what we cling to, whether those things are memories or grudges or granny’s frayed afghan.

Take a look around the room you’re sitting in and see if there are things around you that you don’t really want or need, but that hold some emotional charge for you. Oh yeah, we all have something that fits this description.

The key words in the above sentence are “don’t really want or need.” Emotional charge in itself is not BAD. In fact, a positive emotionally-charged object can energize a space quicker than you can snap your fingers.

But all objects, and especially clutter, have emotional components. Some of these emotions are conscious i.e. “That tea pot collection was my mother’s and I hate to get rid of it even though it’s really not my style.”porcelain

Some emotions are unconscious, i.e. “I’m hanging on to those size 8 clothes because I was happy then” or “I stockpile food in all my closets because I feel so uncertain of the future.”

A Personal Organizer can help with both these emotional components — and a good organizer is aware of both — but the client also needs to take responsibility for change if anything an organizer offers is going to make a permanent impact.

Anyone can clean up a messy space once, but it takes deliberate intention to keep a space clear of items that no longer serve that space. Here are some questions that can help clarify the issue:

  • “Do I keep this item out of guilt or responsibility?”
  • “Does this thing support the person I am NOW?”
  • “Am I finding things I’d forgotten — or didn’t know — I had?”
  • “Is this a useful or necessary item?”
  • “Do I have duplicates (or more) of the same item?”
  • “Does this object bring joy and beauty to my day?”
  • Is this harder process than I thought it would be?

De-cluttering the emotional debris is hard work, even for the most “organized” among us. But doing the work will help clear the path to the next steps in your life, if and when you’re ready.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini can make being organized easier and less painful than you might think.  Visit the She’s Neat website or contact Jeanne at shesneat@myfairpoint.net.

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4 Comments

  1. March 17, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    So true. I can attest to Jeanne’s work. She is a natural at what she does. She has helped me in my own home with patience, a good eye and lots of warmth and caring as you go through the process of clearing out what you don’t need. Love her.

  2. charehney said,

    March 17, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I’m working on decluttering my house this year. I find that I struggle first with being overwhelmed by the volume of the job. Second I struggle with the emotional ties, especially to the things my children have done over the years. I like your questions and think they will help during the process.

  3. March 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Yes, kid art and projects and mementos are particularly tough to part with.For me personally as a mom, it’s a question of significantly whittling down the pile rather than removing it entirely.


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