Emotions behind organizing- memories, loss and when to let go

Emotions behind organizing- memories, loss and when to let go

You can organize all the possessions that you already have. To do that takes patience and forethought as to where to store things and how to access them. You can sort and contain everything without ever getting rid of anything, but the emotional challenge in organizing comes from de-cluttering or purging.  Purging your stuff is the act of getting rid of your possessions, whether that’s trash, recycling, donation or giving it to friends. This act is so emotionally charged it’s where I focus much of my time as a organizing coach.

There are many different reasons that it’s difficult to part with our possessions. There’s the items from family members that are no longer here in our physical plane. There’s the memorabilia from our past life events. There’s the items we’re keeping for someday. There’s the supplies for our many fantasy selves.

What these all boil down to is:We’re using these physical items to remind us of who we are, where we’ve come from and where we want to go.

No organizer I know thinks clients should get rid of everything that doesn’t fit, or isn’t useful or doesn’t match the rest of the furniture.  I also know that when my clients make conscious choices about what they keep in their homes and offices, they are more fully themselves than they were with it filled with things they felt they had to keep.

How do I help clients let stuff go? It’s all about clarity. It’s all about knowing what’s important.  I help them delve into what they value and how they want to spend their time. We talk about and visualize what they want to see and feel in their spaces.  With each box they clean out and each shelf they empty, they get more clarity and feel better.

So as you clean out this spring, I encourage you to honor and respect the emotional charge de-cluttering can bring up. Let those emotions rise. Most emotional surges last 90 seconds or less.  This doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the loss or pain again, but the surge is short.  It can be easy to pass over those items that bring the emotional charge, to put them aside to be sorted later.

The things is, I know you can handle the emotional intensity for 90 seconds and get through it. And when we let our emotions rise up and have their time, we’re healing, we’re releasing.  We may not be ready to part with the item that brought about such an emotional surge, but the next time we pick it up and consider if it’s part of the space we’re creating, the emotions might be less intense. There’s a good chance that it’ll be easier to ride that 90 second wave next time. It’ll be easier to collect yourself afterwards and decide whether that item fits within your vision for you current life.