HOW DO I LET GO OF MY JUNK?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I am something of a hoarder. I can’t seem to let go of things that have accumulated over the years and my house looks like a warehouse. What can I do to let go?

—Drowning in Junk (United States)

DEAR D.I.J.:

Congratulations because you have succeeded in the most important factors in the first step towards change—awareness of the current situation and a desire for change.

First, know that you are certainly not alone in your situation. The United States and other countries are full of hoarders with homes full of junk.

Second, you might want to hold off on any purchases that you don’t absolutely need (perhaps just sticking to groceries or other necessities), at least for a set amount of time that you decide upon. Temporarily halting the inflow will give you more space and energy for dealing with the outflow of what you no longer need.

Next, one of the things that can be overwhelming (even more so than the actual stuff) is the energy in all of your belongings. Stuff can hold energy and meanings you and others attached to each item. Gifts from people can also hold their energy or their hopes for you. Try imagining putting a big grounding cord on your home and ground the energy of your home and every single item that is in your home. This grounding cord may look like the trunk and roots of a tree or a big sewage pipe or whatever you want. The main thing is that you’re using this grounding cord to help you release any energy held in your home and your possessions that no longer belong. Doing this before you try to organize will help make the actual disposal and organization of objects easier.

Keep in mind: the table is not your mother. The bookshelf is not your father. Allow yourself to rid yourself of anything that doesn’t truly serve or fit you any longer. The lamp your friend gave you is not your friend! You are not throwing away people or their kind intentions by getting rid of stuff. You are creating the life that they would have wanted for you and that you deserve.

Also, as you’re decluttering, think about the energy that made you accumulate all the stuff in the first place? Was it lack? Fear of not having enough? Perhaps a way to distract yourself from looking at what you needed to look at? A subconscious way to keep others at a distance? A little awareness as to the cause of the hoarding will go a long way towards change.

Next, set up a trash bin, a recycling bin, and a donation bin. Do an initial sweep and start with whatever areas or items are easiest for you. For example, perhaps you could go through the house and get rid of anything that is obviously trash—expired medications, clothes that are stained or overly worn or that don’t fit, expired food or spices, or old newspapers and magazines, putting them in the appropriate bins. Break your decluttering sessions into short, manageable chunks.

You might also want to check out Mari Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo has a lot of great ideas and reading it will help you get more into the decluttering mindset to make your home a joy to be in and a home for you rather than a warehouse for a bunch of stuff.

Once you have dealt with anything you can easily handle, call in some help—a professional organizer and perhaps a counselor that specializes in hoarding.

I commend you on starting this journey in making your home a place that honors and nurtures you, dear one.

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