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Feel like you are drowning in your stuff? Maybe these "should" statements are to blame

by respaced on April 5, 2011

The stuff we own tends to conjure up lots of “should” statements in our brains:

I should keep this old tea pot that was my grandmother’s.

I should hang these Christmas ornaments that my children made for me 10 years ago on my Christmas tree every year.

I should display that picture that my Uncle painted, even though I don’t really like it.

I should keep every greeting card anyone has ever sent me.

I should dust all of those knick-knacks.

I should replace the battery in that clock.

I should pick these clothes up and put them away.

I should keep everything tidied up and looking nice.

Our stuff can become a burden to us because every item in our house seems to comes with its own “should” statement. Just about every item carries the weight of some sort of obligation to keep, display, use or clean it. (I feel tired just reading that list of “should” statements.) And the more stuff you have, the more you have taken on obligations, responsibilities and “should” statements connected to that stuff.

That’s how too much stuff can oppress us. That’s why we end up feeling like we are “drowning” in our stuff or “suffocating” from it (those are actual words my organizing clients have used.) We are actually collapsing under the weight of all the responsibilities attached to owning things.

That’s why sorting through your stuff and paring down what you own can be so liberating. Organizing is not just about making a space look nice; it’s about embracing freedom in your own home.

Image courtesy of Perfecto Insecto at Flickr.

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