Are you familiar with an old song done by Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do?
Well, he's right. I recently ended a long relationship with a man and it was so hard to do. It took me some time to get up the nerve to do it and prepare my thoughts for how I was going to break the news to him. It included lots of anxiety. Now that it is behind me, I am experiencing a sense of relief. I have cleared space in my life for new opportunities.
It got me thinking that the same is true when you are in the process of decluttering and parting with items that you believe are so near and dear to your heart that you can have anxiety attacks, become frozen and emotionally distraught.
Eliminating clutter can be difficult and overwhelming at times, especially when you have to make those tough decisions about certain items. As a professional organizer, I work with most of my clients, at one point or another, on just such issues. Sometimes there are tears, anxiety or even resistence to what they know, deep down inside, needs to be done.
Emotional attachment issues connected with material things need to be dealt with by taking small manageable steps. I always tell my clients that, although they may have collections of items from a relative or friend that either passed away or reminds them of a special time in their life, they all tend to evoke the same memory and can be downsized considerably without erasing the memory of the person or event. People are afraid that they will forget - they won't.
Sometimes it's guilt that prevents them from getting rid of things. Someone gave it to them and, although they don't particularly like the item, or collection of items, they've held onto them because they feel bad about letting them go.
My philosophy is that once the item is given to someone, the giver of the item gives up their right to it and it becomes the responsibility of the person they gave it to. It is up to that person to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it. If the giver is keeping such close tabs on what they give to you, causing guilt, you need to have a conversation with that person. This emotional burden needs to be lifted.
Being realistic about what makes sense to hold on to and what makes sense to get rid of is not always easy. It helps to remember that less is more. As in ending a relationship with a person, ending a relationship with a material thing can be very very difficult, yet very freeing.
Although "breaking up IS hard to do", it can be done. By eliminating the clutter that inhabits your space and that sense of overwhelm that comes as a result, you will feel free as well.
If you are having trouble letting go of those items, utilizing the services of a professional organizer can help.