Emotional Clutter


Last night my garage decluttering mission escalated into an unexpected opportunity for a one on one counseling session, with myself. Opening each carton was like opening a surprise gift. I didn’t know what to expect, but hoped it was something useful. I’ve started over more than the average person and each of the dusty boxes represented a different era in my life, none of them completely unpacked once I reached the new destination. Most of the memories were just satisfactory and easy to emotionally move on from but for others, I remember anticipating the day specific negative events would be erased from my short-term memory. Today, however, those old feelings are a part of my past.


I slowly navigated the time warp, peeling back layer upon layer of emotions and was surprised by my ability to smile at various photos of me sharing special moments with those no longer a part of my life. Even when their abrupt departure felt like a band-aid being ripped from a fresh wound unexpectedly and catching a patch of hair in the process, the previous agony I thought I would never survive was no longer my initial thought. Not only did I clear a mountain of physical clutter from my garage, I realized that I’d also eliminated a surprising amount of mental clutter in the process. Growth had occurred when I wasn’t looking!


As I unpacked my history, I remembered the thrill of learning to ski on a first date ( I was REALLY cute so will cut him out of the photo and frame my part, lol), before recalling how he stalked me years later after I ended the relationship. I’d forgotten about starting my mornings prematurely with screams, rather than the cup of Earl Gray tea with a twist of lemon that I preferred. I smiled as I was transported back to my first bridal shower and the initial panic brought on by the officer threatening parking tickets, who turned out to be an especially attractive (and flexible) strip tease dancer (I think I’ll carry that photo in my purse!). I wasn’t sure if I should casually bring up the extra bill in a conversation to start the marriage off on the right foot, or secretly pay it so he didn’t find out, also to start the marriage off on the right foot.  The ultimate test came when I encountered a box of secrets left behind by the last relationship which ended in adultery. Rather than texting to re-engage in an old, worn out battle that no one will ever win, I simply tossed his remains in the trash. I’d moved on, there is no looking back.


I am pleased that not only is my garage finally organized and rid of clutter, so is my mental state!


Spring Cleaning Questions From Simplified Solutions

Have I used this lately? If you haven’t used or worn something lately, chances are you’re not going to use or wear it anytime soon either!

Are you really going to do that project? We all buy things we think we’re going to use for this or that but we never really get around to using them. If you haven’t used something as planned, and it’s been hanging around for an extended period of time, it’s time to let it go!

Do I even like this? Notice your entire physical and mental response to this question as you ask yourself this about each item. When your entire being lights up at the thought of something, you should hold on to it. When you find yourself trying to talk yourself into why you like something, those are the items that should go.

Does it serve a purpose? As you look through your stuff, be realistic with yourself about whether or not something serves a real purpose in your life. If you’ve had something sitting in the very same spot for more than 12 months, chances are it’s not serving any purpose for you and should be donated.

Would someone else benefit from owning this item more than I do? This is usually the question that helps push people past the point of holding on to things they are having a hard time letting go of even though they know they don’t need it. There are TONS of people out there that need your stuff. (See The Stuff Stop.)

How many of this item do I have vs how many of this item do I really need? If you have 20 pair of blue jeans and wear the same 2-3 pairs all of the time, you probably don’t need 20. (We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.)


6 thoughts on “Emotional Clutter

  1. Definitely a wonderful surprise to stumble across your post. Though I’m familiar with the act of that I can’t say that I experienced the feelings to the complete extent that you did. Nonetheless, I could hear your emotion in your piece. I look forward to more from you. (p.s. also enjoyed the tips!) Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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