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Hoarders on Oprah
Oprah has yet another show about hoarders this week. It got me thinking about the lies we tell ourselves to avoid letting go of the stuff that fills up our homes and lives.
Of course extreme hoarding can be associated with psychiatric disorders. More commonly, though, we justify mounting mounds of matter with the little lies we tell ourselves.
Here are 7 of the most common self-delusions I hear, along with a decent dose of reality.
1. I don’t have time
I have no doubt you’re time-poor – nearly everyone today is.
But how much time do you lose each day to:
- feeling frustrated
- shopping for things you already have, but can’t find
- feeling bad about your home and inventing excuses to stop people coming over
- searching the rubble for papers, sunglasses, your youngest child
- being unproductive because your office is a mess
Think about all the time you lose over a year. You could gain more than that back with just a little daily decluttering.
Take 10 minutes to get rid of stuff you’ve been hoarding today. Don’t be surprised if you gain 30 or more minutes in productivity right away.
2. It will be awful, horrible, painful; did I mention awful?
The pain of taking action is over quickly, but the pain of living in clutter can be yours to love and cherish for the rest of your life.
The truth is, the anticipation of decluttering is far, far worse that the decluttering itself.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at these comments from people who, like you, dreaded the deed. They sound happy, don’t they? Hmmm…
3. It’s too hard
If you’re talking about organizing your entire home, car, and office all at once then yes, it is. You wouldn’t catch me doing it, no matter how much chocolate you offered me. (Just how much chocolate are we talking about?)
Don’t even try to organize everything or tackle a lifetime of hoarding all at once. Start with something small – a drawer, a paper pile, a mound that’s starting to evolve its own ecosystem. Do a little each day. It might take you a month, or three months, or a year. But it won’t be too hard at all.
4. I’ll do it later
Um, no you won’t. You know it, I know it, your husband/wife/best friend knows it. Let’s move on.
5. I like it this way
If I had a dollar for every But-I’m-happy-this-way person who, after finally getting rid of things they’d been hoarding, admitted they’d been kidding themselves big time – well, I’d have a lot of dollars.
This is the mother of all clutter self-delusions. Bust yourself on it, start releasing things that don’t enhance your life, and enjoy denial-free happiness.
6. It’s not that bad
It could be worse, that’s true. But please, dear reader, don’t choose that as a yardstick for your life.
If excessive stuff is costing you serious time, money and peace of mind, it is that bad. Start letting go of things you don’t need or love today.
7. I can keep it if I want
This is a completely reasonable assertion – if you’re 4. Otherwise, a more helpful one might be ‘I can be happy and feel good about my space if I want’.
Yes, you certainly can – and all it will take is big dose of reality and a little time most days to chip away at your clutter.
Be happy and feel good about your space. That’s my wish for you.
What lies have you been telling yourself to justify hoarding stuff that doesn’t enhance your life? And are you ready to bust yourself on it? Share your story in the comments.