The Emotions of Stuff: What I Learned About Me

Me at 3

A bonus post for the emotions of stuff 6 part series.


Well, together we went through my emotional tidying adventure. It felt weird just kind of leaving it ending with sentimentals.  My  emotional tidying journey taught me about “me” and not so much about my stuff.

Each category brought a little more of my hidden self to the forefront. I didn’t realize I had a hidden self. But as soon as I started purging my things, there it was!

We all grow through this Kon-Mari process, albeit a little differently. For me, my insights were:

I Had A Wonky Self-Esteem Issue – It was drawn out when I did clothing.  I was amazed at how little value I put on myself at times. I knew I had the tendency to put everyone else first.  When I did clothing I could see how much even my clothing choices were based more on  what was cheap and easy, and less on how well it looked on me. The clothes were in charge, not me. I would either get the cheap things for myself, or I would buy something pricey and then never feel good enough to try it on, let alone wear it.  There were some exceptions, but these were rare. I seemed to think that I needed to fit the clothing, and not the other way around. I had a lot of anger towards myself because I was seeing myself as flawed and not as unique.  Since the purge, I’ve been working on celebrating my individuality and what I bring to the party each day. It’s a slow process sometimes, but I’m getting there.

I Was Very Memory Driven, But I Could Let Go When I Needed To.  While doing my books, I thought a lot about my childhood and the great feelings I have gotten from books in general. But I also seemed to able to understand when the book no longer served me, and  I could  let it go.  I’m still not sure why it was easier with books than with other areas. I haven’t figured that out.

I Didn’t Like To Face My Fears Without A Lot of Prodding.  I knew that when I did the papers that it would take some time.  I also knew that buried in those papers were things like a  divorce decree, death certificates, old letters, and the like. I did move some of those things to sentimentals to handle later.  But the other things, when I faced them head on,  I could handle. I also found that I was just as capable as my Dad had been in coming up with a system that worked for our household. I just kept it simple. Simple was my vision in general for our house.  Things didn’t have to be in a file, or stored alphabetically to the nth degree. Just put in a place where Greg and I could find them when they were needed. Once I made the system “ours,” it all fell together.

I Could Make Easy Decisions And Had I Little Emotional Upset It Came To The Common Areas  That I Was In Charge Of. I think, because it didn’t focus so much on me. Kitchen items, were easy; as was electronics, cleaning stuff, or linens. Komono was harder when it came to my  personal stuff; like my hobbies. I had a lot of hobbies! I thought I loved them all. I’d felt like a failure when I pulled out all of my unfinished projects and thought about the money I’d spent. Then I would stop my sort and stall out. Because if I gave those things away, the money was just wasted.  Or so I thought. In reality each of those projects taught me about myself and my choices. I had a lot of unfinished things, so apparently I’d had an awful lot to learn. When I thought about it that way, finding them new homes just wasn’t a big deal, whether I sold the items or gave them away.  What I needed to learn were things like: not thinking badly of myself, as a first response to a situation I didn’t like; accepting that sometimes I make bad choices, but that’s how I learn; realizing that my love for creative things didn’t mean I had to do them all myself; figuring out that I got distracted when I had too many things to do at once; and  looking at myself in general with kinder eyes.

Sentimental Items Needed To Have A Purpose For Me.  I had never thought about it that way before. Sentimental items to me were just … sentimental. It wasn’t until I realized that my belongings were tools of a sort, to serve a specific purpose, that it made sense why I loved some things and not others. I learned that I could  or would outgrow things.  And that was fine. I also learned that our home was ours and that if we wanted it to happy, we had a choice  about which things we’d keep. So many things that I had were associated with guilt.  I decided to choose joy instead of guilt.

That last sentence was life-changing: “I decided to choose joy instead of guilt.” So much of the stress and sadness in my home was linked with having belongings  that I felt guilty about. It had been such a heavy burden, that when it was gone, things changed immediately for me.  The laughter came back.  Life was interesting again. I smiled more. New doors opened up in unexpected ways.

I’m not saying I ditched all of my things.  I haven’t.  But what I kept, fits who I am, now. The amount changes, as I change.

What I kept, sparks joy.

Thanks for sharing my journey.





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