Judith's Jottings » Blog Home Page
What's at the back of your cupboard? Is it clutter? - 23rd November 2016
Do you have an overstuffed cupboard? One where it's scarcely possible to close the doors.
What about the things that are at the back? Things that may not have seen the light of day for a long, long time. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume those things are just clutter that has been forgotten. So what's stopping you?
I've always known that emotions play a big part in whether or not we regard an item as 'clutter'. One person's clutter is another person's valuable keepsake, perhaps?
Collections that have been amassed over time are a prime example of this theory. What you choose to collect is very personal and not necessarily another person's cup of tea. It might be even more precious if that collection once belonged to your granny.
I'm no different to you, I have a number of things that I have kept primarily for sentimental reasons.
Let's go back to clearing that overstuffed cupboard. I've had this kind of experience with multiple clients and it often goes the same way. In order to know what's in the cupboard it must of course be emptied. As the contents are removed it makes sense to apply some kind of sorting process.
When this is done there will be several piles of things and each pile represents a different category of 'thing'. One of those piles is the 'declutter' pile!
If the cupboard has been a bit of a no-go area the owner can often be surprised at what is revealed. Things lurking at the back may have been completely forgotten, for obvious reasons.
Invariably my client will seize upon one of the things and declare it to be incredibly precious and of huge sentimental value. Often he or she goes on to tell me the story of how they came by this item. It may have been handed down through generations, it may remind them of their childhood, it might be a connection to a person who is no longer around. As for what "it" is, maybe an ornament, or a trophy, or a book or some photos? Perhaps it's a piece of jewellery or a work of art, or something useful like a teapot?
In other words, it could be absolutely anything! I'm convinced that at some subconscious level this is why the cupboard has become so cluttered. The emotions are being buried in some way.
What's important is the connection - not the thing
I often think I am hired to play devil's advocate. I hear my client explaining why this recently discovered item is so precious. On the other hand, I see something that has been hidden away out of sight, probably for years. I see something supposedly precious that has not been looked after in any sense. Often it has become damaged because of inappropriate storage.
I ask my clients to be honest - not with me, but with themselves. At some level their subconscious has made a decision to hide the "precious" thing out of sight. Maybe, just maybe, it's not as precious as they originally thought?
This can go one of two ways. It might be that the item is rescued and treated in a more appropriate way. It could be worn, used, displayed, or stored in a pretty box. Sometimes my client has a realisation as to why the thing got hidden away. On the surface it is of sentimental value, but on closer inspection there is something about the association that doesn't feel good. One obvious answer might be an associated feeling of sadness.
Ultimately you decide what you have in your home. Nobody else.
If you would like me to help you unravel the story of your 'precious' things, please get in touch.
Keywords: cupboard, sentimental items