As someone with C-PTSD who has suffered with anxiety my entire life, I have had to learn ways to manage the anxiety. One way to do this I have found is to avoid having too much “stuff”. Clutter adds to anxiety as does the pressure of having a lot of items that need care and maintenance. This has caused me to seriously consider items I have, what to do with them & the best ways to declutter. I want to share what I learned with you today.
I have learned the value of stuff thanks to moving many times in my adult life as well as being in charge of my late parents’ estates. Some things are absolutely priceless to me, such as my Pfaltzgraff Tea Rose dishes given to me by my lovely grandmother in 1990. They aren’t prized antiques worth thousands of dollars, but they’re very special to me anyway. Other items are worthless, & have no real value or use to me. Most items are somewhere in between. Each time I have moved as well as when cleaning out my parents’ home, I had to decide the value of each item to help me decide if I should keep it or not.
To help me decide what is worth keeping & what is not, I ask myself some questions about the items. First, does this item serve me? In other words, does it have a use for me? If yes, then fine, it stays. If not, is it in good condition? Then it can be sold given away or donated to charity. If it isn’t in good condition, then it needs to go in the trash.
Second, I ask do I love this item? Sentimental items often fit into this category. If I love the item, even if it doesn’t serve a useful purpose, most likely it will stay. That isn’t always possible though, so rather than keep it, I take a picture of it then sell, donate or give it away.
If I am unsure about an item, I consider this question: if I was to move tomorrow, would this item be worth the trouble of packing up, unpacking at the new place & finding a place to store it? After moving many times, I have learned what a horrid chore moving is, so this question helps me to put items in perspective.
Another thing I have found helpful is to have a box available at all times for items that are to be donated to charity. This simple act makes giving away decent items much easier since all you have to do is put them in the box, & when the box is full, drop it off at your favorite charity.
While this information hardly sounds like my usual topics for helping your mental health, this information actually is helpful for your mental health! The less stuff you have cluttering your home, the less stuff you have to worry about maintaining. That is really important! Too much stuff can all too easily clutter your mind & home. It is much healthier & also freeing to have less stuff that has more value to you than lots of stuff. This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of 99% of your possessions & live in a tiny house with virtually nothing. It does mean that it is wise to exercise wisdom regarding your possessions. Don’t hoard stuff just to have it. Keep what serves you well & that you love, & get rid of the rest. I think Matthew 6:19-21 in the Amplified Bible shares a great deal of wisdom on this topic: “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.”
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