Why it Can Be Hard to Get Rid of Old Stuff

Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com

These past few weeks, I’ve been slowly selling some of my old things online. Old things include clothes that no longer fit me (thank you Covid for those extra 10 pounds!), and a lot of old stock from the webshop I had before we got divorced (I sold natural baby products such as carriers and cloth diapers for about 5 years.) It’s been mostly a relieve to see these things finally go, since I’ve been wanting to for years. But in the process, I also bumped into my own resistance of all those past years. I noticed what made it difficult to tackle these issues.

Going through our old things can be quite confronting. It makes us look at our past, and at a version of ourselves we might no longer identify with. This can result in different kinds of unpleasant feelings:
On the one hand, seeing things that remind us of a past we enjoyed but that is no longer here may bring up feelings of loss. Like when you sell your children’s baby clothes or a cd you listened to when you were 16.
On the other hand, seeing stuff we bought but never used can bring up feelings of shame or guilt, perhaps even anger. We are confronted with parts of ourselves that we don’t like so much: failed plans, buried dreams, mistakes we might have made. This is the case for me when I go through this old stock from my former webshop.

When you decide to finally sell the items, or donate them, or even throw them away, you have to face the role they have played in your life. You have to touch them again, look at them, decide what to do with them. The items need some of your attention, however little it may be. And that’s often the one thing we’re not willing to give them anymore. It would be easier if they would just somehow vanish from our house, without us knowing, without having to make any choices, without having to look at them one last time.

The good news is that finally dealing with clutter you no longer want or need, can be incredibly liberating (no surprise there!) In the end you’re not just gaining physical space in your home, you’re also gaining some emotional space where you’ve dealt with some of these issues. And if you’re lucky, you might get some cash out of it as well.

My house is still full of items like this, not just my own but also my children’s and my parents’. And I know many other people who also have stuff they rather ignore than get rid of, even if they are sure they will never use it again.

Finding out why you hold on to things, asking yourself what feelings and memories are associated with items, is a great way to take an honest look at how your past still affects you now. And know, this doesn’t mean you have to be constantly ‘thinking about the past’. Most of us are influenced by our own past on a subconscious level. At times, we do things, respond in certain ways or say stuff without even knowing why. It takes courage, time and honesty to find out.

Spring is a good season for letting go so you can welcome the new. It holds the promise of soft, fresh breezes, wild flowers and bright sunshine, things all made more wonderful when there is more space, physical AND emotional, to enjoy them in.

🌸 Here’s to many bright and joyful days! 🌸

3 thoughts on “Why it Can Be Hard to Get Rid of Old Stuff

  1. It is hard. Last year I visited a friend in Munich whom I had not seen in a decade and was astonished at the simplicity of her Feng-Shui apartment decor so I had to ask,”how did you manage to get rid of all the stuff..?” She laughed and took me to the basement of her building where they have storage space for the residents 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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