New Year Clear Out

2 01 2013

Many people take the opportunity to have a bit of a clear out at the beginning of the New Year.

This year I am one of them.  I have recently taken a notion to reduce clutter in my home. It may be in part inspired by my discovery of a TV show about Hoarders and identifying my own tendencies to hang onto things I don’t need.

It made me question; why do I feel the need to keep things I neither need nor use?

I hate waste and I hate throwing out anything that may have a purpose at a later date. My job has in part been responsible for my hoarding tendencies with paperwork in particular being a massive issue for me. I am very creative and I keep hold of anything that may stimulate ideas for lessons or that could be adapted as worksheets or resources in school. I often don’t know how I will use the material but I have on many occasions taken inspiration from something in my home that I have held onto for some time waiting for its purpose to become apparent to me.

I also worry that I will discover that I have urgent need of documents such as bank statements, payslips, car insurance information and tax details in the future and therefore am reluctant to risk throwing them away even paperwork relating to vehicles I have long since parted with.

Clothing is another thing that is fast overtaking my available storage space. Even when items have not been worn in a number of years there is always the anticipation of an upcoming event that will demand that this top or that dress be put back into circulation.

Other clutter that is difficult to part with is items with more sentimental value: ornaments, jewellery, and electronic devices. These may be broken, unused or may have simply been replaced.

I wonder why it is so hard to emotionally part with items that have outlived their use.

For me, I know that my financial history is always on my mind and is a huge barrier to my letting go.

My decision to change my job 5 years ago enabled my husband and I to enjoy financial stability. Recognising the impact of a secure working life brings with it a determination to be the best in ones given profession to ensure job security and the prospects for progression/promotion. With this in mind there is some justification for my need to keep hold of anything that may inspire me in the pursuit of the “Outstanding” tag so coveted within the teaching profession.

In times when my organisation and management of household bills was lacking; it came to a point when I had to drag myself back into the black with great difficulty. Perhaps this explains my reluctance to part with paperwork associated with bills and household accounts. A minor tryst with Inland Revenue about two years ago has ensured that I keep every piece of paper regarding my NIS and Tax payments dating back over ten years. The struggle of living in debt for a couple of years has also encouraged me to keep records of spending and bill payments.

With regards our household treasures I remember vividly the efforts I made saving to buy my first VCR and waiting years until I could afford my first car having passed my driving test. I can also recall the struggle to pay my store cards and catalogue bills and credit cards after Christmas each year. Many items which seem of little value now at one point came with a huge cost, not just the RRP but the things given up to acquire them in the first place.

Whatever the reasons it is important not to attribute emotional attachment to things that simply do not matter. So in the first few weeks of January I will be having a clear out and hopefully by next Christmas I will eat my Christmas dinner at my dining room table – assuming I can excavate it from beneath the debris under which it is currently buried.

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