Anxiety when you get rid of things?

dancingqueengwSeptember 6, 2011

Tonight I gave away a techline desk and a chair we have not used for several years. Put it on Craigslist for free and had five takers. Trouble is as soon as I put it outside I started having major anxiety. I'm happy it's gone as I did not need it or have room for it but does anyone else have anxiety when you let things go?

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Yes, I know exactly what you mean. The "what ifs" start to bother me. What if I need a desk like that someday? What if somebody in my family wants it? What if? You start to think (even unconsciously) of all the "possibilities" for that desk and chair. Try to dwell on the good feelings of them being gone, all that space freed up in your house. That the person who took them now really loves them.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:29AM
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I can sympathize. I went through and picked out some kids books to donate earlier in the week. I let my kids go through them and take out anything they wanted to keep. Was surprised at some of the choices because I thought they thought those books were baby books. I donated the rest to the first grade teacher. Now I'm thinking that my kids might miss them when they have kids. I know I bought a nursery rhyme book that I had had as a child.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Yes, major anxiety and anticipation of regrets. I have trouble letting things go.

But because we post these things on cl, whether for sale or free, we have photos. I print out the listing and keep a file folder of all (or most) of the ads I've run. I know, I could do this electronically, but I don't. Every time I add to the folder, I see some of the things that are long gone and know I don't miss them a bit.

I also promise myself that if I need it again I can buy it again, or some semblance of it.

When I am thinking ahead to what my kids will have for their kids, I think about them all in a box and the space the box will take up for 20 years. Then I think about what I would be doing/have done with such a box from my own childhood all these years. My mom kept a few things, and I enjoy them, but it is all I need to be burdened with. And now that it's gone through another kid, what the heck do I do with it? In effect, you burden your kids with it if you can't get rid of it.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 7:46PM
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Thanks for the responses. It's good to know that I'm not alone in this!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 5:29PM
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I used to have anxiety letting go of things but then in a 6 month span, I had to participate in dismantling the homes of 2 newly deceased relatives, neither of whom kew how to get rid of anything. Both died in their 70s.

I spent 3 of every 4 weekends for 6 months going thru stuff as we cleaned out homes. And my sisters did the same with me.

I vowed then that I would NEVER do to my legacees what had been done
to my sisters and I. If it's not been used in 2 yrs and no one wants it, it
goes - sale, charity, whatever. There is no amount of stuff that will provide "happiness" and/or take away the negative feelings that we experienced about these family members.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:28AM
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It took her 2 daughters Six months to "organize" her stuff after my mother in law died. Six months of going thru her papers, her clothing,her unused computer, everything my MIL had saved. The clothing couldn't even be donated. Everything had a rip or a stain. salvation Army was very restrictive about what donations they would take. Nothing electrical, no wicker, no fabric (afraid of bugs?) I don't want to inflict that on my children. So now, at age 58, I'm going to do my own "death sort."

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:55AM
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I've done the "death sort". (It's good to have a name for it - thanks Jannie). I've also done the "moving to assisted living sort". I also cleared out a relative's junk-filled condo. It's not enjoyable and only reminded me of the person's worst traits.

Some of this holding on to stuff just seems like selfishness. It really irritated me when the relative with the stuffed condo felt that much of the junk was valuable. (It wasn't). It IS tough when something has sentimental value.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:33PM
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My DH has this problem - OMG what if I can use it 1 year, 5 years or 10 years down the line??? PANIC.

Please just take a few deep breaths. It's not irreplaceable. Chances are you will never want to replace it, and if you need something similar in the future, that particular stuff probably isn't going to fill the need exactly (because otherwise you would have already been using it!).

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 11:41PM
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No, I don't have anxiety about it being gone. I have some trepidation about letting go sometimes, but when it's gone there is usually a huge sense of relief. Most often, I don't look back. It can be quite cathartic to let go.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 9:27PM
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I have lots of hobbies and crafts I loved to do at one time. But I got bored with them and put the supplies away. Let me tell you what happened to two of my craft stashes. I liked to embroider and I had flosses in every color of the rainbow. I stuffed them all in a bedroom drawer. One day I opened that drawer and just threw out all the flosees. Sorry to see them go, maybe I could have donated them to Girl Scouts or a school, but they went in trash. I also liked painting ceramics. My specialty was doing Santa Claus statues. Made lots of them as gifts. Had all kinds of jars of paints. I put them neatly on a shelf in a closet. Then one day I looked at them. Even unopened, all the jars of paints had dried up. Another garbage toss! After I threw things out, I was delighted to have some extra storage space. For my "new" hobbies!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 10:52AM
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My mother has done this 2 ways, regarding her own belongings. (She's still with us, thankfully)! Her first way turned out to be wrong, her second way - perfect, as is she.

#1: panic about all of the things we kids would have to deal with, if she were "gone" tonight. Have a garage sale & get rid of all that "stuff". All 3 daughters wanting that fiestaware... Some woman griped about paying $10.00 for it - vintage, service for 8... Many other things gone, she feels guilty for.

#2: ASK YOUR KIDS if there are things they feel attached to, or want! Have those awkward/unpleasant "when I go" talks.. That's what she's done, & we all know what will come to each of us - & much has been received already. Things she didn't use, or want to see around daily, she gave to the one that wanted it. That also made the family item something pleasant to look at & enjoy - not something to forever remember as something brought home after the passing of a loved one. "Association" is a powerful emotion, & can ruin good memories of special items that should bring comforting memories when seen!

#3: didn't plan for 3 - but, as mom has done - make sure your kids know that the things they don't want can GO. Donate, sell, whatever - it's ok with you! No guilt, for them - you can't take it with you, & won't care about that stuff where you are!

Is this a "foolproof" system? Nope. Both of my sisters have something I wanted - I got over it! Much easier to do now, without grief & sorrow clouding the mix!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:42AM
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My mom and I volunteer with a charitable organization and my mom's church. Both have garage sales every year or so and also give supplies to struggling families. I keep a box in my laundry room for stuff I run across as I clean that I want to donate. When I do major organization cleaning, the box gets filled up quickly, but usually it takes maybe a month or so to fill. Very seldom I have second thoughts and go back and take something out. Mostly, I just feel good that the stuff I don't need any more may help another family who is struggling. I always find that it makes me happy to declutter.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 12:22AM
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My husband and I are both "collectors". I collect Depression Glass, embroidered linens, Christmassy stuff. Hubby collects Disney and Coney Island items. We have everything "tastefully" (IMHO) displayed on wall units. We asked our two daughters if they wanted any of it. The answers were "No." They've also told us, after we die (not looking forward to that) they will toss everything. Fine with me. Where I'm going, you don't take collectibles.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 8:35AM
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I just brought a small bag of goods to my local church thrift shop and as I strolled through the store I was amazed at just how much clothing the thrift store has available! So this makes me think that rather than give things to thrift shops, it would be better to find a family who can use the items and give it directly to them. I know this sounds wasteful, but my new view is now to just throw stuff away, things like clothing, old kitchen items, pillows, linens, toys, etc. and remember to buy less stuff going forward. The thrift stores are as clogged as my home!

And I must admit that it was difficult for me to let go of even a grocery bag of clothes and other small items. I am afraid to let certain things go.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 11:39AM
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I am a woulda, coulda, shoulda type of person. I dwell on the stuff I've let go of. That's why it's taken me a year to decide to get rid of stereo equipment and speakers that have been taking up valuable space in my small condo. I keep thinking of the thousands of dollars spent on them by my late DH, and it drives me crazy that I'll be lucky to get $100.00 for all of it. It helps when I give things to my kids but I find myself telling them that hey can have it until I might want it back again. I would never ask for these things back. It's just so hard for me to let go of things that are important to me but I have no room for, even though I know someone else will use them.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 2:54PM
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I used to. My "guru" taught me a technique of seeing myself as a conduit. I am the conduit for good things to come into my life, and good things to go out of my life to other places. I meditate on this a lot. I can let things go now with no anxiety.

My best friend died when we were 40. Her sister, husband I did the "death sort." She wasn't a hoarder, but she was a collecter and keeper. Her husband wanted the house cleaned out and clutter free. Doing it for someone so young, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, also changed how I think about "things." In the end, her things were a burden to her husband. Boxes and boxes went to Goodwill, to other family members, etc.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:21PM
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My mom and dad passed away and me and my sisters went thru the house which they had alot of stuff on which me being the person i am i can't seem to let go of thier stuff i have become a hoarder of one room of stuff that i can't let go of what can i do Help!!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:38PM
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No, I love to get rid of things and not replace them. If a room is too full, though, that causes anxiety and feeling closed in. So, guess I can understand how others might respond differently.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 7:48AM
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yes, i get major anxiety when i give away clothes. at the last minute i start to panic and think stuff like "what if i have a funeral to go to i'll need this!' "what if i go broke and loose all my money, i'm going to need these clothes!" "if i start working out again i'll need these gym pants!"

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 7:04PM
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I never have anxiety as I try not to get attached to things. The only things that I regretted giving away was a Christmas tree because I wanted a prelit and my old one is so much nicer and lighter than the prelits and a salad spinner. I did end up buying a new salad spinner.

My mom wasn't a saver either. When she died it only took us a weekend or so to clean it out.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 6:39PM
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Not me, I love getting rid of things because I hate looking at things I never use or that serves no purpose.

My own sister won't leave me alone in her home for any time as she's afraid I'll give half her "stuff" away. LOL She's a collector and I'm a pitcher!!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 9:31PM
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