Tag Archives: grief

Is Your Clutter A Sign Of Unresolved Grief?

There are many different reasons we find it hard to let things go…dreams of wanting to be a different size, fond memories, thinking we’ll need things one day, anticipating life changes. But sometimes our grip on things is based on unresolved grief. It is like a different form of nostalgia and it’s something that could be overcome.

We often associate grieving with death, but really any kind of a loss can cause grief. Divorce, change in health status or physical abilities, marriage, moving, retirement, graduation, birth of a child. Even positive life events can generate feelings of loss and grief and increase our attachment to things.  Nostalgia is fine, but when it starts compromising our present, there is a problem.

Unresolved Grief

Unresolved grief is a result of unfinished business, getting stuck in loop of remorse, regret and disappointment, being unfulfilled in “what could have been” or “what could have been said or done.”  The feelings may persist years after the event.  It may be that you don’t become fully aware of the need for resolution until decades later.

You may be experiencing unresolved grief when you are trying to deal with stuff that you know is getting in your way but is just too painful to deal with…it triggers emotions that are overwhelming; pain, anger, sadness.  Especially if the stuff has been there a long time.

Examples:

  • Boxes of leftovers from an “X” that feel unpleasant – even toxic — yet can’t bring yourself to deal with?
  • An overloaded garage populated by tools from a beloved deceased parent
  • A closet full of toys and games from a child who is moved out and moved on

What can you do about it?

  • Recognize that we are socialized to avoid grief and loss, to ignore or repress lingering feelings of sadness. Often our friends and family, while well-meaning, are incapable of addressing those feelings of loss.
  • In getting organized, we can face and name these feelings and try to “get under the hood” of our attachments. Sometimes that alone may shift your perspective.
  • Don’t go it alone!

Grief support groups art generally are aimed at people who have experienced a recent death or trauma. It’s usually about providing a safe place to share feelings with others who have had a similar experience.

There is a specific form of counseling called Grief Recovery Method®.  The goal of this method is to resolve the grief. This is a process designed to deal with all types of loss and bring you to a point of resolution of your grief.  You can work with a friend or on your own, in a facilitated group, or one-on-one or virtually with a trained coach.

We are grateful to Tina Kopko, LMFT for her presentation which introduced our local chapter of Professional Organizers to the concept of unresolved grief.

 

Tina Kopko

Tina Kopko, LMFT provides the Grief Recovery Method® to individuals and groups

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Decluttering, disorganization, Guest Experts, Memorabilia, Perspective

Excuse: “It’s Too Important To Let Go”

Would it be heartless to pass on your childhood awards?

Do sentimental items clog up your living space?

Have you ever opened up your desk drawer trying to find a pen and find yourself sifting through memorabilia–the medals of your recent 10K run, certificates, photographs, or ticket stubs?   If your memorabilia impedes your use of active space, it’s time to get serious about its true value.

Lately we’ve been reviewing a wonderful organizing resource book, It’s All Too Much, by Peter Walsh.  Peter also wrote a companion book, It’s all Too Much Workbook.

We appreciate Peter’s style of getting right to the heart of the emotional holdbacks our organizing clients face. One section of the book covers all the excuses we’ve heard for justifying keeping things that are no longer being used. Here is a great one and Peter’s response:

Excuse:  “It’s too important to let go.”

Excuse Buster: “If it is so important, then I must give it the honor and value it deserves (or let it go.)

Here’s how Peter counsels his clients on this topic:

“Don’t tell me something is important, has personal value, or is a family heirloom if it’s covered in dust, lost in a pile of clutter, or buried somewhere in your garage.  If you value an item, you need to show it the honor and respect it deserves.  Otherwise, it has no place in your home.  No discussion, no negotiation–it goes! Either you value something or you do not. You have room for something or you do not–it’s that simple.  If we each had a palace, we’d have infinite space in which to cherish and display our prized possessions.  Maybe you’d devote a whole room to the porcelain figurines you inherited from your grandmother.  But most of us don’t live in palaces, far from it.  You can’t own everything, so you have to pick and choose.  The value you say an item holds for you must be reflected in the place you give that item in your life, otherwise your words have no meaning and the object is little more than clutter.”

 So the next time you stumble upon some memorabilia in an inconvenient place, ask yourself, “Am I giving this the home it deserves?”

Are you really honoring the memory of this person or personal achievement?  Or is it keeping you from moving through your life with ease?

Leave a comment

Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies