Transience and Denial

by Nathan M
(Chandler, AZ, USA)

Hello! This may be a question that I already know the answer to, but I am going to ask it anyhow. Please feel free skip all the way to the bottom for the actual question, and then read the rest of this message for context, if you like.

Here's a quick history:

In 2003, I graduated high school and moved into a townhome with a friend. The place was mostly empty, and so over the three years that I lived there, I amassed a good amount of furniture and kitchen utensils and appliances. From about 2006 to present day, I have lived in 7 different places, ranging from small empty apartments to large, fully furnished homes.

Due to my constant moving, the majority of my belongings have remained boxed up for the past five years, depending on the setting I'm in at the time.

I have a large clothing supply that varies from size Medium to XXL, as I tend to gain or lose weight frequently and dramatically. I am currently towards the XXL side of the spectrum, and am therefore accessing only a small portion of my total clothing supply. It is hard for me to donate or throw out the smaller sized clothing (even the dramatically smaller clothes) because some of them are next to brand new or have never been worn at all.

I have owned three or four couches and loveseats over the years, but I have managed to give away or sell all of those, possibly because they are so much more annoying to have to move (especially upstairs), so I'm more willing to part with them. However, I still find myself dragging around all sorts of stuff that I admit I would only ever take out of storage if I were in a permanent housing situation (read: own my own place). The catch, of course, is that I am not going to be in a permanent place anytime in the foreseeable future.

To give you perspective of scale, I am currently living with two other roommates (three of us total) in a 3br home owned by one of the roommates. The home has a 2 car garage which is completely filled, wall to wall, with my crap. My crap includes clothes, small kitchen appliances, kitchen utensils and dishes, books, random assorted trash that I have never thrown out (christmas stocking stuffers, obsolete business cards, half filled out notebooks, etc), cds, hiking and camping gear, bicycle equipment, and bicycles, as well as assorted tools and small furniture like lamps or wall shelves.

I also have a large weight set, but that is currently in storage at my parents' home about 30 miles away.

I own a few 6' medium duty plastic shelves, but even with those filled with boxes, my other boxes still cover at least half of the garage, stacked one or two high.

Besides all of that, I have a relatively sizable (though not at all valuable) collection of wall art that is currently hung throughout the house.

In the past I have tried to go through things and throw them away or designate them for donation, but I find myself rationalizing the hoarding. For instance, I might come across a largely useless cheap multi-tool given to me in a stocking one Christmas, and decide to keep it, even though I have other much more useful and durable multi-tools. Or I will put a whole pile of clothes in a "donation" bag, only to then realize that I have transported that donation bag to three separate living places.

Any help on how to break through sentimental attachment and how to STOP saving stuff for possible future usage?

Thank you so much, in advance!


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Jun 03, 2011
Comments for Moving Past the Clutter
by: Samantha

Hi Nathan, thanks for writing me. Sounds like bottom line, you're asking for help w/breaking your sentimental attachment to stuff.

It's simple, it's stuff and people, mainly you, are more important.

From your writing it sounds like you already know that.

What's really important is to realize the 'crap' as you refer to it, is holding you back and getting rid of it is freeing both mentally and physically.

Please read Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley. You can find it on Amazon. It's a fun, no-nonsense way to break the emotional attachment that we develop to stuff while revamping your whole life. If you haven't read it, it will help. She walks you through decluttering in baby steps, so even the most overwhelmed can be successful. I wish you the best and please let me know if you have any questions.

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