I need help and wanted to turn to you. I know you get thousands of emails a day so I will keep it short.
I’ve been receiving FlyLady mail now for several years and my house is definitely cleaner — but I cannot bring myself to declutter! Throwing one thing away — even old moldy food in the refrigerator — is a huge effort.
There is this overwhelming guilt that goes along with discarding unused things. I cannot explain it and I don’t know where it comes from but it’s clogging up my life. I feel like I really need to think long and hard about something before I get rid of it. I’m not whining here — I’m more at wits end with myself! I don’t want to be one of those people who they find dead among a pile of newspapers! (Although in my case it would probably be mail…)
Instead of giving up something for lent I had planned to face my hoarding nature (which I try to view as “sin” because it keeps me apart from God) and throw away one thing a day. I was going to use BodyClutter as a guide — because although I’m in pretty good physical shape I thought I could apply the principles to my house clutter. So I went to my garage-size storage unit to find the book (I recently moved — over a year ago! — and just threw everything in a storage unit where it’s been ever since!) — but guess what? I couldn’t find the book. So I didn’t follow through.
Easter is over and all I have to show for it is this guilt over this clutter.
Any insight? I know this stuff is standing in my way. Why am I treating myself so poorly?!
Otherwise — thank you so much for everything. The emails, the testimonials, the reminders, the essays, everything. You remind me to keep my standards high — and I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing your “self” with all of us!
Floundering at the Jersey Shore
Dear Jersey Shore,
I will not call you floundering because I do not agree with you! You say your home is getting cleaner! That is a success. The fact that you recognize your clutter as a problem is the first babystep in getting rid of it.
Guilt is the reason you will not get rid of anything. Guilt is the weight that is holding you down and keeping you from FLYing! Guilt is a tool to separates you from God! Another name for guilt could be fear of disappointing others.
We were all raised by people who were touched by the great depression. That “Poor Me” thinking has been handed down to all generations. It is not your fault! You can release those negative words that you hear in your head. Those are the voices of the “poor me” past generations.
You had a great idea of using our book Body Clutter to address this. We deal with those voices that we have in our heads. Those voices are not yours. You are only parroting what you have heard your whole life! Now don’t beat yourself up because you can’t find the book! Be thankful that much of your clutter is corralled in a storage unit and not in your home.
Just as hoarding is habit; decluttering can be addictive! I think the main problem is that you are looking at the whole house and the storage unit. You don’t need my book Body Clutter to get started; you just need a commitment to release one thing a day. If you have to sing this song! Please release me let me go; as sung from the stuff’s point of view.
I want you to think about your clutter this way! It wants to be released from the bondage of your home. Someone somewhere needs these things that you are hoarding. As for the newspapers and mail; You are just overwhelmed and scared to throw anything away.
Most of what comes in the mail is trash. You mail has to earn the right to come in your home. Cull through it before you come in the house. One member keeps her shredder in the garage. As she gets out of the car she shreds the trash. If you don’t have a shredder then open up your mail over a trash can. Tear off the parts that could be used in identity theft. As for a good shredder. They are priced from $30 to $200.
I like to use paper in my fireplace as kindling for my fires. My paper clutter warms me. LOL I am glad I live in the mountains and can have a fire often. The only problem is the summer time. I need a shredder too.
The next time you hear yourself questioning or placing guilt trips on your head. I want you to stop dead in your tracks and say! I can get rid of one thing. You can do this!
Throw those refrigerator experiments out! You are allowing your stinkin’ thinkin’ to STINK up your refrigerator. We clean out our refrigerators every week so we don’t have fuzzies growing in there.