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Thread: anxiety over belongings

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    anxiety over belongings

    Does anyone else feel anxious about how much stuff they have? I'm not a boarder. In fact, I am wife ruthless about throwing out or passing on anything I don't need. I've thinned down and thinned down, yet I still feel overwhelmed by 'stuff'. Most is out of sight. Everything is packed away in cupboards or drawers. I won't settle until I've tidied away anything that is left lying around. It's tough because JP is untidy. He just takes off his work clothes and leaves them on the livingroom floor. He let's dishes pile up too. I work nights so am not around to stay inflow of these things. I come home from a shift tired, but have to tidy and clean first.

    Our flat is quite small. Especially our kitchen. I try to store only what we need. To keep only those cleaning products we actually use. Yet still I feel that our cupboards are just crammed full. I constantly tidy and reorganise all our storage spaces, and again, only keep what we need. Although we have A LOT of books. Jp also has an entire 4ft by 4ft bookcase just filled with manga, and has filled the shelves in the livingroom cupboard wth dvds. I don't mind these and try not to include them when I start thinking about how much stuff there is.

    Our flat is small, and we don't hoard, yet still I have this image in my mind, probably put there by home design programs on tv, that everyone else lives minimally with tidy drawers and cupboards with plenty of open space. I try to tell myself that everyone has the same amount of 'stuff' and often more, yet they just tidy it away and stop thinking about it. Yet nothing helps me. I'm constantly tied up in knots over the fact that there are so many drawers crammed with so much stuff.

    Does anyone else feel like this? Has anyone overcome such feelings? It seems that whenever I tackle an area of anxiety, I find something else to blow out of all proportion.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    Sorry for the typos in this. I'd written it on my mobile. Not sure how 'quite' became 'wife' though.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  3. #3
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    I can't stand clutter, but that's just what the house is like. We've both spent too much money on collecting things which are now packed in boxes either in the shed or in the garage. Every couple of years I go on a rampage and start tossing things. I do not have yard sales or garage sales. I did it once... only once. I now load up the bed of the truck and head off to to either the county or township reclamation sites, i.e. the dumps. It makes cleaning harder to have so much shit around. The kitchen needs to be seriously purged, as do the closets. We have stuff we've not used in years. There are things that are already packed away that I don't even know what they are. If I don't miss them, I don't need them. I also prefer out-of-sight-out-of-mind, and envy and appreciate the homes that have minimal shit around.
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ


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    Supporter cesara's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    My family has wayyyy too much stuff. 12 years, 4 kids and many dogs later, we have things still in boxes that I haven't seen in years. We have more than what fits in storage so I am continuously stripping cupboard after cupboard to remove stuff we don't use, to put the stuff we do use, inside. It seems a very constant battle in my house.

    My husband has hoarding tendencies. If it's "free", he'll take it....doesn't matter if we need it, or not. 'Cause, you know....one day we may need it! *eye roll* I too, have my own issues. I find it hard to toss something that is perfectly good. i try to recycle/repurpose/give away as much as I can, but admittedly, not often enough.

    This is an issue I am really working on, right now.

    That said, I think it's easy to go too far and be anxious for no reason, as well. It's rather impossible to live a westernized life without at least SOME stuff to help us along. I think you're right, that some of these TV shows project unrealistic ideas of how a house should look/be organized, at the expense of functionality and just the realities of real life!

    There is a happy medium, somewhere. I'll let you know when I find it!
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  5. #5

    Re: anxiety over belongings

    Oh yes. It was way much worse when I was a Buddhist but still it flares up from time to time, usually my flat is quite a mess, not to mention my room at my parents' house which is full of all kinds of stuff.
    Basically, the thing that makes me the most anxious is all the old stuff that has had a meaning for me but doesn't have that anymore. Then it becomes like some sort of dirty secret that I just can't give up but can't have it in the house either.
    And yeah, like you said, those home design programs... And also plenty of websites that promote minimalism. It seems like minimalism is some sort of fitness movement for the interior designers. Just heating up the wabi sabi muscles to show them off a bit.

    I have been trying to tell myself that nothing, my bachelor box included, doesn't need to be "perfect". Also, it just might be my anxiety issues making some noise... After all, it's all about keeping things in control, isn't it?

  6. #6
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    I totally think we have too much stuff. Its compounded by not enough storage and random hobbies. I go through the apartment twice a year and purge--everything goes to the charity thrift store. But yeah, there are certain things that you "need" and you almost never use again, but you better keep it because you *might*--seriously the only time I use a hammer is to hang pictures. And then there's the stuff you only use once a year--decorations for holidays, the snow-cone maker, etc. And then there's the kid stuff which seems to multiply.

    My goal for this weekend is do do the bathroom closet and the kitchen cabinets. This past weekend I did my closet and the bookshelves...and at some point, I need to do the kids clothes and toys. I try to do a little bit at a time.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  7. #7
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    Yeah, what is it with the "we may need it someday" and "it's for when we [whatever it is we're never going to do]"? Totally "pulled-out-of-my-butt" theory... it's a holdover from our hunter-gatherer days. I think collecting and hoarding is innate in humans.
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ


  8. #8
    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    YES yes and another resounding YES. Sometimes, I just want to throw everything I have in a pile and burn it.

    The issue is, both me and my BF keep things. We're not hoarder bad, but we're definitely packrats. If I'm honest, I'm the worse of the two. I can't really figure it out, either, because I'm not really particularly attached to most of my stuff. I think that personally, it has a lot to do with how hard it is to get rid of stuff here. Like, not hard emotionally, but actually difficult to do. I don't like to waste things so I cannot bring myself to throw out things that are in working order. BUT there is such an overflow of cheap stuff here that it's hard to get rid of. I've been posting the free stuff in free groups on facebook or putting it out on the street, which usually works fine (I prefer the street, to be honest, because even though you're not technically supposed to do it, everyone does, and the facebook group users are notoriously bad for not showing up). The issue is the stuff I want to sell. Like, I don't really want to GIVE my Wii away, but it's really tricky to sell stuff like that here. I'm also at a total loss about what to do with my DVDs (I think I'll just end up donating them to the library). All in all, getting rid of stuff involves a lot of coordination and planning, and I've been short on time.

    And then, there's the fact that we live in Germany, which means that there is some stuff that we are expected to keep forever. Like bank statements. I'd totally love to just shred my bank statements from 7 years ago, but you're expected to keep those forever. I recently found out WHY as well, because I lost one that I need and I have to pay to get another one from the bank. So yeah, both me and my BF have binders and binders full of statements. I keep most of them in the cellar, but it still annoys me that they're there. If you walk into any German person's house over 30, you'll see a row of binders on the bookshelves. That's what those are.

    But, as the sheer number of objects in the flat is starting to overwhelm me, I've been trying to bite the bullet and get rid of things, even if it's time consuming and annoying.

  9. #9
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    Quote Originally Posted by DanieMarie View Post
    Like, I don't really want to GIVE my Wii away, but it's really tricky to sell stuff like that here. I'm also at a total loss about what to do with my DVDs (I think I'll just end up donating them to the library).
    I'd totally take your Wii and DVDs if you weren't so far away! Hubby, when he left for GA, took the Xbox with him and his laptop (first world problems) so we are stuck with my laptop connected to the TV.

    And then, there's the fact that we live in Germany, which means that there is some stuff that we are expected to keep forever. Like bank statements. I'd totally love to just shred my bank statements from 7 years ago, but you're expected to keep those forever. I recently found out WHY as well, because I lost one that I need and I have to pay to get another one from the bank. So yeah, both me and my BF have binders and binders full of statements. I keep most of them in the cellar, but it still annoys me that they're there. If you walk into any German person's house over 30, you'll see a row of binders on the bookshelves. That's what those are.
    Can you scan those? For example, I keep all my tax stuff and military/VA documents (with the exception of my DD214) electronically, and the external hard drive and backup thumb drive in a fireproof lock box. Heck, my bank only sends me electronic statements anyhow...I save the file for the prior year each January.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  10. #10
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    Re: anxiety over belongings

    My father became an extreme hoarder after he retired. I mean, bad, like you see on tv shows. You could hardly walk through little tiny pathways in the rooms. After he died it filled several dumpsters. He kept newspapers, cereal boxes, junk mail, broken tv's, you name it. I have 2 trunks with my childhood/high school/college things neatly packed in them, and eveything else is just normal. I have some knick knacks on my shelves, books, racords, etc., it all looks orderly. I'm glad I didn't inherit that trait!

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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