Clutter & Guilt

This is the first part of a series I thought I would do on Guilt. Yes, guilt. It comes in a number of forms. Some of us will relate to perhaps to just one or two forms it can take. Others of us, may well relate to a number of forms that this particular snapping dog of an emotion takes on, in order to hound us.

Today's post is going to be on the relationship that can exist between clutter and guilt. It is going to share some thoughts that have been floating around, waiting for me to place them on paper (or on a screen as is the case here in blog-land).

Hopefully some of the points shared may strike a chord with someone else also. Maybe they will prove to be helpful for moving forward in a manner that may be more constructive and/or helpful, as you go about determining your own form of household logistics also.

Clutter and guilt: here are some thoughts......

Guilt. It can take many forms. One of the most underhand forms it can take, is in making the process of de-cluttering highly emotionally charged at times.

Instead of simply getting rid of things tucked away and never used, we can suddenly be tied up in emotional knots by guilt manifesting itself. Suddenly a powerful range of emotions can become tangled up, can cling to some item that once out of sight is often out of mind. Suddenly, due to guilt, that very item can generate a cloudy, murky should-I-or-shouldn't-I dilemma about whether one should purge or continue to keep the said item.

Guilt. It can at times be the most unnecessary of companions when facing sorting, purging and de-cluttering. It is something I have struggled with, and to date still have to process, as I continue to go about sorting, purging and de-cluttering this year as part of my own personal de-cluttering project for 2014.

Sometimes I simply feel like I want to be angry about the burdensome-ness of family heirlooms passed on to me. I loathe the guilt that can and does at times show it's ugly face, when out from amongst a pile or from up on top of a shelf something previously gifted to me, yet never used, comes to my attention and requires for me to make that purge or keep decision.

Yet, other times I thoroughly appreciate the joy family heirlooms can provide. I thoroughly appreciate the link provided with past generations, the beauty of hand-crafted items by loved ones who have passed on. An embroidered cloth able to be draped over a table surface, a china cup, saucer and plate set to use at a garden tea party..... they are in that instance a lovely legacy from further up the family tree, plus something that creates beauty and joy in the present moment also.

I think the key for me, and perhaps it might prove to be the key for others also, is to refer back to that very first statement with which I launched this very blog. That very insightful statement made so long ago, yet which rings so true even today, which William Morris made: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".

As I continue to face the numerous boxes, drawers, shelves, etc requiring review over the next little while, I may well write that statement literally out, for me to refer to, for guidance over the next little while.

It may well prove to be the most helpful of objective guidelines again and again. It may well prove to be the most appropriate of guidelines for addressing any possible (and quite likely) guilt and therefore anxiety waiting to nip at my heels.

Guilt. It is a nasty little snapping dog of an emotion I find. Sometimes it is easy to tell it to heel and get behind me. Other times, it loves to come up with all sorts of great excuses for why this and that should remain. Yet, today is today, and what was cannot always be allowed to dictate and shape what is now to occur.

Have nothing in your house (your linen cupboard, your garage, your bathroom drawer, the top shelf in your wardrobe, lurking in the far back corner of your kitchen cupboard...) that you (yes you, your spouse, your child, those currently in your household...) know (have first-hand knowledge by making practical use of it) to be useful, or believe to be beautiful (appealing to the eye, pleasant to the ear, deliciously aromatic for the nose.....).

Thank you William Morris. You have provided a wise and insightful statement and directive for those of us seeking to de-clutter and to gain greater visual and spatial simplicity.

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