Your Home Has a Waistline Too, You Know
While working with clients on organizing projects, I often resort to analogies where I compare myself to a personal trainer and the extra stuff people hold on to as weight gain. A perfect small example is the junk drawer. Every home has one. Somewhere. Usually it's in the kitchen. It usually starts out roomy, fairly well organized and not in any way an issue. Over time, though, things land in there because we are not sure where else to put it.
What is in a junk drawer and why does it get so full? From an empty drawer it goes from serving us to becoming an embarrassing collection. And then a hindrance once it's so stuffed we can't close it.
We let our homes get fat over time in this exact way but on a much larger scale. While we are caught up in life our homes and kitchen counters and desks get a little junky as the days, months and years go by.
And it’s not easy for people to un-junk, because once they start looking at doing some "weight loss" for their space, they start to do it one precious object at a time and not with the goal of making the entire space less crowded in one assertive swoop.
Then there are collections. Shelves that hold ephemera and keepsakes. Sometimes, when I am with a client, we will peruse a collection of items on a shelf and touch everything on it without the client letting anything go. I often wonder, when do the collections become hoarding?
More things I've heard:
The kids picked those out when we went to Malaysia.
After my parents passed away no one wanted these so I took them.
Friends gave me these and even though we aren't friends anymore I can't throw them out.
Memory and identity are on those shelves, tag teaming with a sense that we paid for those things and it would be a shame to throw it away. They become symbols of love, guilt and remorse.
Eventually, we have too much. We don't know where to put what we buy and it builds up in closets, under bed storage and other places. Most people will end up throwing out things out but not always. Sometimes they can't because they've spent the money on it and they grew up believing that you don't just throw things away.
This is modern life. At some point, maybe not when you first start out, but after having an established home you will end up buying, inheriting and taking in more than you need.
The first step is awareness, of course. Once we know we've gone overboard and we dread being in our homes or at our work desks, we can only make changes if we can make an honest appraisal of what ails us.