Never ending stuff


Have you ever thought about everything that you own?  The stuff you may have stored in your largest cupboard, the garage or attic may spill over to the point where day to day living is affected.  The stuff you just cannot give up for various reasons - it might come in handy someday or it may serve the grandchildren you are yet to have or it contains a deep sentimental value to you.

Our stuff can say a lot about our personalities and provide an insight into who we are as people but more worryingly there is a mental health condition known as 'hoarding disorder' where stuff can be kept 'in a chaotic manner'. (NHS)

In the more extreme cases therapy may be sought to support this.  Surely most of us are guilty of keeping some items which have no further use but for some reason it is just unthinkable to part with.  Maybe several items like this can just somehow sneak into taking up an abundance of space and lay claim to its surroundings and giving it up may be a hassle - where to take it?  If you can get creative with it then perhaps a car boot sale or a stall may be the direction to go, with perhaps even managing a small profit.

A member of my family recently gave up an oversized bear to the skip and on a second visit realised the bear was put in a 'special' corner with the 'still decent' stuff and this tugged at her heartstrings although she could no longer tolerate the size of this bear in the bedroom.

One thing I find myself guilty of is always having a 'miscellaneous space' which seems quite organised on the surface - usually a box or an area but it somehow expands to something else, something untidy and disorganised.

Often I will think to myself after tidying that it is worthwhile just for the mental health benefits alone: the environment feels clean, with less clutter and my mind also feels less stressed and more calm.   The process of tidying and sorting can be enjoyable as memories may come flooding back of 'some good old days' however it may also provoke sadness too if items/photos are present which relate to a family split for example.  If embarking on a tidying and sorting project, self care is important and a break may be desirable so save a favourite biscuit or a motivational song you love to support over any hurdles.

A piece of advice that I sometimes adhere to is 'if you have not had any use of an item for one year then chuck it', however the idea of throwing out some things does not always feel right for whatever reason such as the occasion has not arisen yet so it gets kept a hold of anyway.

One of my most treasured items is a small poster which I bought over in France without knowing too much about it - it was just great to look at.  I have owned it for twenty nine years now and sometimes glance at it and make up scenarios and stories but yesterday I read on social media that the lady in the picture died.  The picture is called 'the kiss by the hotel de ville'. Now when I glance at the poster it feels different almost as if she has quickly come to life then died on the same day.  It is fascinating that items can take on personal meaning and have a unique thought process with regards to it.  

There must be a logic to what we decide to keep but trying to keep tabs and minimise the amount is no easy task and for some can present great difficulty.

Paula Smith


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