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5,360 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always known this is a MAJOR problem for would be dejunkers, but I'm a black belt dejunker. You wouldn't think I'd have this problem and not recognize it would you?

This was brought to my attention even more sharply recently during one of Carolyn's spring fling challenges when I realized that I had a developing mess situation in my downstairs guest room, had to get in there and "deal with it" but couldn't figure out why I rebounded away from it like I'd hit a glass wall.

WHY???????????? I wondered!!!

Till I realized there were some bags of my dead and much missed mil's clothes in there.

Aha! NOW I knew where my roadblock was. And for me, knowing the problem was most of it.

For some of you, you may be dealing with some grieving that you are putting off by not dealing with some clutter or things. They are stashed either in your way or out of sight, but they are there and you can't quite figure out why you can't deal with that back bedroom closet or wherever it is.

This was my problem.

Once I knew, I could figure out what to do. Give them away, keeping a couple of things for dd and I to use.


It isn't that easy most of the time. My mothers things, I'm still keeping some of them many many years after her death in 1970.

If you hit a roadblock like this and you aren't able to let go immediately or ever use Don Aslett's emotional withdrawal box system.

Box up the stuff, label and date the box. Store out of the way. Review when you can, in a year or 3 or 5, and if you are ready to let go then, do it, otherwise keep storing the stuff.

Yes it's a delaying technique, but it helps.

When you are on a roll dejunking and you hit stuff with greif or strong emotional resonance (I wore that on our honeymoon) you will be derailed if you stop to wallow in the misery or the memories.

Box it up but don't toss it yet. Date it, store it, review it regularly till you come to a place when you can either toss it, give it away or

do another Don Aslett technique and that is build a memory from it.

Cut a scrap of smocking and have it framed, with a photo matted in the frame of you wearing it as a small child, and another photo of your dead mother who smocked the dress.

Or make a scrapbook of clippings and memories or a wall hanging of fabric scraps from your honeymoon outfit.

and toss the rest.

Just accept this as part of your life and your past and box it up and keep it permanently if and only if you can afford the room. I don't have a lot. I have her old cookbook, her smocking tools, 3 dresses she smocked for my sister and I (and someday I plan to do the above but not now) and her bible.

I do keep it out of the way. I don't need the reminder of grief that the smocking would bring so I am not ready even after 34 years to make a framed matted picture and needlework thing.

Reduce it in size to what you can't part with
Reduce that still further by cutting it down to a representation
Store it out of sight and out of mind so you aren't constantly re opening your wounds.

Someday you will be strong enough to deal with it, but till then decluttering is important to be able to live a healthy easy free life.

Hope that helps

any other ways you work thru grief to a decluttered existence?

5,360 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This type of dejunking takes longer than you ever thought it could.

People that aren't going thru something like this often look at it, and say, "Oh it's only an old dress, what are you stressing over, toss it and be done."

If grief could be worked thru so simply-- "oh toss and be done, instant relief" then we would none of us suffer thru.

But I think the things are part of saying goodbye to our old life (who we hoped to become, accepting instead who we are and that life changes), to the person that is gone (death, divorce, estrangement) and other emotionally charged stuff of our life.

It's grief work, it's acceptance, it's part of growth and change and it takes time and effort.

I used to wonder why a very poor friend of mine couldnt' even throw garbage out. Used bags from fast food places, dirty disposable plates even. She had a terrible time. I thought, oh Just toss it and be done.

What I didn't realize then was that things, even trash was HERS and it was hard to give even trash up, let alone get rid of something that might come in handy.

Is she different? Nope, she is a little better but till she decides it's a priority to change in this area it won't change much. Several times other people have come in and cleaned up FOR her but she goes right back. Like a crash diet, she just puts the clutter back on.

I've finally figured out it's like quick fixes and the credit cards or Dr Phil's weight loss challenge.

Doing little bites when and where we can, making little changes will eventually change the course of our lives for the better

and the little changes? They will stick, and we will gain control over our junk habits whether it's money, clutter or calories.

Creating new habits that work, take time and comittment to the process of change.

Takes forgiveness for when we fail, and the comittment to get back up and keep trying and I think this process is the same for grief work when dejunking.

Hugs to all who are coping with this kind of decluttering in your life.

1,100 Posts
I have the same problem with my Dad's paperwork. I still have all of his cancelled checks and such. I keep them out of loyality to him and in case my sisters ever want them.

My guest room (#2) is a real problem! My summer bedspread and assoc. are spilling over in this room! I keep telling myself to just box them up and put them in the shop building, but I worry about the mice so I don't.

Susie in MN

Master Dollar Stretcher aka AmyBob
5,738 Posts
DH and I dealt with a lot of his dad's stuff in the last few weeks that had been taking up half of our garage since he passed away three years ago. Most of it got boxed up and packed for the move~ the delaying technique Margery described! Some of it was sorted and pitched. We both know that the stuff is being kept for emotional reasons, and we've made room for it. One day, DH will be ready to go through the rest of it and get rid of most of it, but for now, I'm not willing to push him to deal with it. He'll deal with it when he's ready to do so.
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