Embrace Your Clutter!

It's often said that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and a trip to any car boot sale will reveal a whole host of junk/treasure, dependent on your viewpoint.  The same can be said for the treasured things in our homes, what the Marie Kondo's of the world would deem clutter can be amongst our most valued possessions.  While the decluttering gang are busy telling us to chuck everything out in the quest for fulfilment, a recent survey reveals that we Brits love our stuff and have no intention of parting with it.

Childhood mementoes are amongst our most treasured belongings, with teddies gracing many a grown-up's bed.  We also hoard old toys (they're vintage now, of course!), old school reports and even exercise books and art work, but nearly half of us wish our parents had kept more of our belongings so that they could have been passed on.  Our biggest regrets are the clothes, books and toys that are long gone.  In fact a third of us have got rid of something we now wish we’d kept.  Yep, I know that feeling, having been busy on auction sites buying up the Sindy furniture, dolls and clothes I once owned.  Grr.

Thankfully, the one thing I never part with is books, so my treasured collections of Blue Peter annuals and books, 1970s classics and even my mum's '50s movie star books are sitting happily on the shelves waiting for the girls' interest when they're a bit older.  Wish I had the corresponding '70s and '80s clothes for them too though!

As for our own children, paintings and drawings are in the top ten items that people find most difficult to throw away, so you can be sure we've got a stash of art work in the loft, garage or storage facility.  But beware what you're stashing alongside, as a quarter of adults admit to holding on to things that belonged to an ex and 29% have discovered that their partner was keeping an old item from an ex - oops!

Psychologist, Dr Becky Spelman, commented:

“A teddy bear or toy from our childhood or an old gift from a teenage sweetheart is more than just a relic of an earlier time – it is an emotional gateway to our early years and all the people and things we loved back then. These instincts are very strong, and they are part of what makes us human... Many of us feel genuine grief, akin to that we feel when we lose a loved one, when we have to get rid of things that are precious to us, or that we associate with people we have loved. Instead of fighting our instincts, it makes sense to find a way to deal with our treasured belongings in a practical manner that doesn’t hamper our lifestyle.”

Of course, no-one wants to live in hoarder chaos, but we do love these relics of an earlier time and many of us are getting fed up with the decluttering message.  If we want to hold on to old toys, birthday cards and letters (remember those?), special clothes our children have outgrown, and treasured tickets from concerts and special events we remember fondly, so be it.  A memory box or two won't hurt anyone.  De-clutter?  We say Marie Kond-NO!  Although I'm not sure about the one in ten women who hold on to underwear they no longer wear for the memories...

The survey was conducted by Safestore, whose storage expert Dave Cox says:

“The variety of ‘stuff’ that is brought into our storage centres is just incredible – from rare collections to unusual relics, it’s why programmes like Storage Hunters are so popular! It’s all hidden away across the country, kept by those that can't bear to part with it - and why should they have to - our love of our belongings is deeply rooted and an important part of our lives, by keeping the really important things safe, there are no regretful ‘declutters’ and lots to hand down to our future generations.”

That makes me feel better about the suitcases of clothes I've got stashed away for the girls when they're older, and I'll keep adding to that Sindy collection too.  What treasures have you got tucked away?  Is there anything you regret letting go?

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