I’m a Keeper

I have a lot of stuff! Too much stuff. How did I let this happen? Does this sound familiar to any of you?

 A few months ago as I was looking at my stuff, material possessions, I came to a few realizations:

  1. I’m not a hoarder, but a keeper. 
  2. I hold on to everything because of fear. 
  3. It is easy for me to help people to get rid of stuff they don’t need, want or use, I need to apply the same tools to me. 
  4. I’m a certified Professional Organizer. I know what I need to do. Stop making excuses!

I was in my bedroom walk-in closet when I made that realization. I went to the kitchen where my husband and daughter were. Walking into the room, I made the statement “I’m a keeper.” To which my wonderful amazing husband made a quick whit reply, “Yes, you are. Why do you think I’m still married to you after over 30 years?” That may not be exactly what he said but something very similar. How sweet! He’s a good man and definitely a keeper.

After I got over his response, I thought I needed to explain. I have a hard time throwing things out or donating them because I’m sentimental, or I might use it again, or someone else might need it, or if I get rid of whatever item, will someone be upset with me if years later they want to use the said item. So, I keep things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t keep everything.

When you walk into my home, you might experience a tidy organized home. All of the stuff is organized somewhere.

Confession, my office tends to be the dumping ground. There are boxes and piles of paper I need to sort through and shred most of it. Also, the mudroom needs work. I’m not perfect.

Fear. I’m not a psychologist or counsellor, nor have I gone to counselling (maybe I should), but I think the main reason why I hold on to stuff is because of fear. Fear that I will let someone down. Fear I will disappoint someone because I donated, recycled or threw something out. Do you feel that way as well?

Fear of disappointment or another way to put it, fear of rejection. To have someone disappointed in me and the thought of a loved one or close friend reject me because of something I have done, scares me beyond words. Have you experienced that? What do you do?

Not long after I admitted to my husband and daughter that I’m a keeper, I went through some things and donated some items and threw some things in the garbage. Sometime later, one of them asked me for something that I had gotten rid of. I don’t remember what it was. I confessed to them that we no longer have that item. I explained why and what I did with it. They were shocked! Shocked that I was able to let something go. Then they had to give me a hard time for not keeping the item. They were proud of me for making the decision to remove the item from our home as we really didn’t need it anymore. 

Maybe there was a brief moment of disappointment but we all got over it. No rejection. We all still love each other. That may not always be the case, but it encouraged me that I did the right thing and I am able to make that decision again.

Letting go of the fear of disappointment and rejection is something I am learning to do. It’s not easy. With each item that I no longer need and leaves the house, a little bit of that fear goes out with it, or at least that’s what I would like to believe.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to keep and a time to throw away…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1a & 6b NIV). I have kept many things for many years, and now it is time ‘to throw away’ (or donate, recycle, etc). 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold youth my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

It’s good to know that I don’t have to do this on my own. As I approach a space that I am about to work on, I can seek God and ask for strength and help to make the right decisions.

So, I’m on a journey to go through boxes, piles, drawers, and cupboards. To sort and decide either to keep it, donate it, recycle or throw it in the garbage. I’m not doing this so I have space to acquire more, but to remove from my home things we no longer need or want or use. 

How about you? Are you a keeper? Are you ready to remove material possessions from your home that you no longer need or want? Slow and steady. It might not be easy but when it’s done, it will be a beautiful thing. 

3 thoughts on “I’m a Keeper

  1. Thanks for the offer, Freda. That is kind of you. You’re right about it being hard to get started. But being willing to throw things away is a problem for me too. I think I’m making a little progress in giving away some of the clothes in my closet. It’s getting so full, I’m needing another closet.

  2. I’m a keeper too. This is such a good post! I just keep putting off sorting, so it doesn’t get done. So things pile up. Congratulations on your steps forward.

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