Emotionally attached to your S.T.U.F.F?

Room full of clothing, baskets, shoes and boxes

Reading time – 5 minutes

Is your attachment to your things stopping you from getting organized? It can be hard to let go of things from the past, past careers, past relationships and past experiences. These items can be holding you back from becoming the person you want to be. Have things in your life that will help you to move forward. Not everything that has come into your life should stay with you forever. If it has outlived its usefulness to you, let it go. When I started Mind over Clutter I would see a client talk with them about their goals and start getting them organized.  I soon learned that disorganization is never about things but about the mind and how we think and feel about our things. S.T.U.F.F helps you to explore the psychology of why you have things.

S – Simply too much

Perhaps you can’t get organized because you keep too much stuff. It is not possible to keep it all organized in the space that you have. You need to understand that you have too much and you need to have less.  Accepting that realization can be very difficult.

T – Take time

Step 2 in the process is to take time to understand why you have so much stuff. Take time away from all the activities, commitments and distractions to think.  Perhaps you are avoiding or procrastinating thinking about your situation.  Schedule an appointment with yourself no matter how busy you are. It is important.

U – Underlying reasons

Step 3 is to discover your underlying reasons for buying, collecting and keeping excess stuff. Is it;

  • Fear of making the wrong decisions about what to keep and what to let go of
  • Fear of hurting someone’s feelings who gave you the items, Remember the items are now yours and you get to decide what to do with them.  They no longer belong to the giver.
  • Retail therapy – Are you buying things to make yourself feel better? Do you feel worse for spending the money unnecessarily? If you are looking for love, acceptance or happiness, items are inanimate objects without feelings. What can they give you?
  • Do you want control over your situation and don’t want to be told what to do so you keep everything? That attitude leaves you alone with a lot of work to do by yourself.  Giving up some control means you can get help with the task of letting go of your stuff.

These may be some of the reasons why you have a lot of things. It is important to understand your reasons so you can start to make changes in your buying, collecting and keeping habits.

F – Feel About Having Stuff

In step 4 ask yourself how you feel about having stuff? Does it make you feel:

  • Safe
  • Prepared for Anything
  • Successful
  • Exhausted
  • Overwhelmed
  • Out of Control

Journalling may be a good way to figure out your feelings. Gregor explains it like this. You can use any notebook you like, any size you want, Or you can create a document on your computer (or laptop, or tablet) where you can start writing. Journaling means adding a narrative, telling yourself a story. It can be based on that thought that has been nagging you all day, a gut feeling, those undefinable emotions as of late. Start by writing down those thoughts that preoccupy you the most and you will see the story unfolding from there. Journaling can also help you acknowledge important life lessons, mental breakthroughs and growth. Ideally you should do it every day, even if it is to write down a mundane sentence, just so you create the habit of releasing your thoughts and emotions on a blank piece of paper, instead of bottling up whatever upsets you. Record how you feel when you enter the room or do you avoid the room. When you look at what is in the room do some items make you feel happy while others make you feel sad and still others have no effect on you. When you are sitting in the room what do you feel, cramped, open, excited, overwhelmed? Move things around and continue to journal about your experience.

F- Feel About Having Less Stuff

Lastly, step 5 ask yourself how you feel about having less stuff?

  • Unsure
  • Afraid you won’t have what you need
  • Guilty (people gave you the stuff, you inherited stuff)
  • Excited
  • Hopeful
  • Free

Continue journaling as you remove items from the room. Over the course of time do your feelings change? Are you able to adapt to less and overcome the negative feeling of fear and let go of things? Are you able to be motivated by the positive feelings of enjoyment to continue to let go of stuff?

Instead of holding onto things:

Have only things in your home that you know are useful and see as beautiful. Perhaps you like the Marie Kondo philosophy, “Does it spark joy in your life? If yes keep it. If not thank it and pass it along”

Think about what new:

  • doors will open,
  • experiences will be available or
  • perspectives will be realized by letting go and moving forward to becoming the person you want to be.

If you need help with letting go, book a complimentary 30 minute chat with me.

Julie Stobbe in a white shirt with a black necklace  sitting in front of a blue and white striped background

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

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9 thoughts on “Emotionally attached to your S.T.U.F.F?”

  1. Ooh, a new acronym! Similar to your two F’s, I always ask clients two questions (sometimes we discuss in person, sometimes they write a paragraph about it in advance): How do you feel when you look around the room/space we are going to be working in? And: How do you WANT to feel?

    1. These are two good questions to help clients start thinking less concretely and more about their feelings. Once they understand their feelings they can start to make a mindset shift.

  2. It’s fascinating how the emotional attachments we have to our stuff can become paralyzing and overwhelming. I love the S.T.U.F.F. process you outlined, which offers a way to process some of those feelings and then move forward in a thoughtful way. Without addressing what’s going on behind the scenes (in the heart and mind,) it can be challenging to let go.

    1. It is important to have a way to open the doors to talking and thinking about feelings. The feelings can be overwhelming as well as the items they are looking at. Once the thought process can begin, changes can start to happen.

  3. I find that talking about how we feel about our stuff really helps us makes decisions. When we clarify why we want to keep something, it immediately gives us perspective on if we should keep it, and where it should go! This is a great little acronym to help us keep moving forward in the decluttering process!

    1. It is fun to hear clients talk about why they want to keep something. Sometimes they have a good reason and other times they will laugh when they hear themselves say out loud why they are keeping something. That release of tension (laughter) can help to let go of the object. Clarifying feelings about how you feel about an object can happen in many different ways. Each person needs to find the wasy that is most successful for them.

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