Why We Clutter

Why We Clutter
Longer days, warmer winds and chirping birds unite to present their annual message: Time to de-clutter! Of course, you know all about the mental junk linked to personal clutter; and how cathartic it is to clear out your space. However, why do you keep buying and storing all that stuff in the first place? And why are you reluctant to let it go – whether a garage sale, charity donation or trash bin? When you understand the why of things, your goals become easier to accomplish - even better you can prevent the pileup in the first place.

Do your possessions own you?
There is a strong correlation between the need to accumulate/hold unto possessions and feeling disconnected from others. This means when you have good symbiotic relationships where you feel supported and loved while you do unto others, you don’t need all that material stuff. In addition, according to psychology Professor Edward Lemay from the University of New Hampshire the more secure and accepted you feel in your relationships, the lower the monetary value you attribute to your possessions. In other words, you value your solid gold relationships more than your possessions and you don’t need material things to define you or show others who you really are.

It is always great to have a research study validate common sense. I always look to fiction which contains great psychological and spiritual truths about human nature. For example, George Eliot’s novel Silas Marner spins a tale about a lonely, alienated weaver whom the villagers mistrust and refuse to integrate into their community. As a result, Silas Marner spins high quality linen which earns him a great many gold coins which he values above all else. Then the gold coins are stolen, but in a sense are replaced with a human version when a golden-haired toddler wanders into his house. He raises little Eppie; he grows to love her and she adores him. The villagers observe this happy child blossom under this bachelor’s care and soon accept and appreciate Silas Marner for the authentic person they now know better. He relies on their support for raising Eppie, as it really does take a village, and they enjoy giving him advice. By the way as these tales go, years later his stolen gold coins are found and returned to him. However, he no longer values them the way he once did because he has the security of his beautiful and loving family – even when Eppie marries, she insists that old Silas move in with them.

How to clean out the clutter and prevent its unsightly return:
  • Be aware that clutter is a barometer of your relationships. You value your things more than people.
  • Reduce your daily stressors which disrupt your relationship rhythm. Bad moods cause others to back away from you.
  • Enhance your personal sense of security by fortifying your identity, knowing your unique contribution. When you lack confidence, you tend to avoid others.
  • Cultivate a personal support group: Friends/family as cheerleaders and therapists.
  • Love others wholeheartedly with no strings attached; love because you can.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.