Column 10 – The Tie That Binds by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

What are we doing to our families because we can’t let go of the past! You know exactly what I am talking about. I had to get tough with a dear friend this morning over this same problem. She is not the only one that is struggling with this issue. 

Here is the situation. My friend’s eight year old daughter wants to have her birthday party at home instead of McDonalds as she has had all her life. She goes to her mother and says, Mommy, I am the only girl in my class that has not had a sleep over at my house. This child’s birthday is in five months. I guess she figures that if she asks now, that her mom will be able to accomplish this by the time her birthday comes.

The little girl’s simple question placed a huge guilt trip on this mother. Their living room, family room, dining room, kitchen are major hot spot infernos filled with clutter.  I asked her what was in these hot spots. She said that she had been going through the baby things. Now listen closely; the baby is 8 years old. What do you think is going on here?

I feel that she can’t let go of the past because she is feeling sorry for herself because her children are growing up! “This is my baby”, she said to me. Well what are they supposed to do! Die in infancy! No children grow into adults and we have to let them go! This means their baby stuff and toys too.  As a result of not wanting to let go of the so-called sentimental items, she is sacrificing her child to the Gods of the past and not allowing her to grow up in the here and now and enjoy her childhood.

Do you see how sad this is for the whole family? The clutter of the past is alienating them from the world.  This is not the only problem in this family. This clutter is hurting their marriage too, as well as the lives of the older children.

What we have here is a failure to take babysteps. The perfectionism attitude is keeping her from spending a few minutes here and there to declutter. Her excuse was she doesn’t have time! I asked if she had five minutes. She had been taught her whole life, “If you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all!” her words were, “I don’t have time to do it all!” This is the main problem with every one of us.

We think we have to do it all, to do it RIGHT! This is a bold face lie!!! If five minutes is all we can do then that is five minutes more than we have done. You can’t organize clutter; you can only get rid of it. This clutter came into your home one bag at a time and it can leave the same way.

How long are you going to let clutter steal your life, your love and your sanity? It is time to let go and FLY!! I want for you what I have! Peace and this peace came from letting go of ties that bind me to my clutter! Cut them and find yourself FLYing!

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