Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Did this clutter make my butt look fat?

I am afraid to let material things go.

After seeing the countless ads for "Cash for Gold" I decided to pilfer through my three jewelry boxes and make some extra money. I really don't wear much jewelry, so the fact that I even have three jewelry boxes is sickening in itself.

I don't particularly like gold, so in the beginning it was easy to throw sets of gold earrings, random chains, and a couple of rings into the 'to sell' box. I filled the small box about halfway when I hit a wall. I couldn't get rid of the ring from Aunt Ina Mae, even though I acquired it from a box of throw aways when she moved. And how about the tired looking necklaces from my deceased grandmother (that screamed 1987 and which I would never wear again)?

Maybe I was afraid that if I got rid of these things that I may wish I had them some day in the future. What if I had a daughter and wanted to give her Aunt Ina Mae's ring? It wouldn't happen if I sold it for spending money. And maybe I was afraid that by selling gifts from Grandma Doris I was selling off my memories of her. It almost felt like betrayal.

When it came down to it, I had a lot of 'emotional clutter'. According to Peter Walsh, author of "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?", there is a process to rid yourself of emotional clutter:

- Realize that if you let go of an item, you do not let go of that person. People do not live on through material items.

- Hold on to items that only bring back positive memories, not painful ones.

- If there are items that encourage you to keep up a ritual based on grief, consider letting it go and focus on the positive instead.

- Make sure your space has a great representation of the past but also leaves room for you to celebrate the present and plan for the future.

- Keep the items that truly represent your loved one.

Armed with Peter's list I sorted through again. This time I held each item in my hand and decided if it really meant anything to me. Believe it or not, the second time around most things ended up in the sell box or in the garbage. I realized that I had other gifts from family members and friends that were much more important to me than a piece of jewelry. I didn't even feel bad about it.

All in all, I made $75 and emptied out one large jewelry box. It felt so good I moved on to my closet, bookshelves, and linen closet. Unfortunately my butt was not any smaller, but I did feel a little lighter inside.

I'm sure we all have some sort of emotional clutter, minimal or severe. Sort through some of yours this week. You'll be surprised how great it feels.

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