Overcoming Memorabilia Paralysis

“I want to get my life back.” When you hear that from a woman there are several reasons she might be longing to reclaim her own life. Wives and mothers get consumed in their roles. Women who are depressed go down for periods of time and lose touch with themselves. And, living in physical chaos created by dumping the belongings of a deceased relative in your space can do the same thing.

The tricky thing about trying to get your life back when your house is loaded with memorabilia, furniture and other stuff from family members is that in order to deal with it you are likely to be taking a trip back in time. The reason so much of that old stuff stays stuck where it landed when pulled off the U-Haul is that a part of you is resisting feeling the feelings that could surface when you go through the boxes and move the furniture.

Items hold the energy of the person to whom they belonged or the energy of a particular time in your life. Their energy comes from the story they have to tell. Items whose stories mean nothing to you are easy to part with. Those that bring pictures from your past into your mind are loaded and can elicit strong emotions! It’s anticipation of feeling those strong feelings, particularly sadness and loss, that will keep you too busy to do anything with all that stuff.

If you want to “get your life back”, find a way to address the influx of old stuff as soon after it arrives as possible, before it becomes a physical block to getting on with your life. The first step is to decide what you want to incorporate into your home. Keep only those things you truly love or will use. It’s OK to get rid of old stuff. Really!

Pass unwanted items to other family members, donate or sell them. If you have difficulty getting started on the sorting process or making decisions about what to keep and what to move along, get help either from a sensitive friend, family member or professional organizer. Why prolong the agony? Take the first step. There is relief on the other side of any sadness you may encounter.

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