Oh my this is a topic near and dear to my heart because guilty clutter holds so many people hostage. The dreaded clutter that we hang on to because we feel guilty getting rid of it. Whether it’s a present someone gave to you, memorabilia that family has passed down for you to hang onto or something you have spent a lot of money on, there it sits taking up valuable space in your home.
For me that was my mom’s china. It took up a lot of space in my china cabinet despite the fact that I never used it. Here’s an old picture of where it used to sit on the second shelf down (I no longer have this cabinet in my new home).
My mom and dad got this china as a wedding present many moons ago and I got it when they moved into a smaller home and they didn’t have the space to store it. So I took it because I knew my mom could never part with it on her own. However it just sat there and eventually resentment built up. We lived in the same town as them so I felt totally guilty even thinking about giving it away. Then a couple of years ago my girlfriend bought me a beautiful tray in crazy daisy pattern that I absolutely love. And then my sweet husband purchased me a few more pieces.
The only problem was that I had no where to put it. In fact it lived in boxes for far too long before it dawned on me that I had perfectly good storage space in my china cabinet. That’s when I knew it had to be done, I had to part with mom’s china. In a moment of clarity I realized that I could no longer hang onto something out of guilt. I packed it all up and took it all to my girlfriend’s thrift store. I thought the guilt might intensify after that but instead I felt so much lighter, like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I don’t think my mom was very happy about it but I think she totally understood when I got up the nerve to tell her.
Right now I want you to think about something you’re hanging onto out of guilt. Just take a moment and think about it as you look around your home. Okay do you have that object in your mind? Now ask yourself some questions:
- why am I hanging onto it?
- do I love it or use it?
- who am I afraid of hurting if I part with it?
- am I holding onto this because I want to or because I have to?
- how much space is this item(s) taking up?
- could I be using this space for stuff I actually use on a regular basis?
- what’s the worst that could happen if I get rid of it?
- will someone else want this after I’m gone?
I encourage you today to really give it some thought. How much stuff in your home is tied up in guilty clutter? It’s tough I know. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, decisions are hard. But I have to wonder how many of us would be content in the size of the home we already have if we released all the stuff we hold onto out of obligation?
I want to leave you with a video I recently watched that sparked this blog post today. Cas talks about the burden of guilty clutter beautifully and really gets to the heart of the matter. Such good stuff!
If you can’t see the video, you can find it here.
So tell me what are you holding onto out of guilt that you think it might be time to part with?