Now is the time to turn your attention back to your malignant kitchen items: the stuff that makes you feel guilty, or sad, or like you've failed as a cook or
as a provider for your family.
As bad as this stuff is, I know it's often difficult to "break up" with it. It's just like addressing a relationship that's bad for you or that has run its course. Even when you know you need to do it, making that break can be incredibly painful.
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I have dealt with all kinds of malignant clutter over the years. I know how crippling some items can be, how they can crush your spirit and, without warning, bring up memories of times or events that send you into sadness, anger, and despair. I also know that the only way over a problem is through it. By dealing with malignant clutter, you remove hurdles that are keeping you from your best life.
A few years ago, I worked with a family that had endured the father's battle with lymphoma. Every member of the family was left shaken by the experience. Fortunately he was in remission, and his odds for continued good health were great. But in one corner of the living room, I found an upper-body and head cast that held him completely still during his extensive radiation treatments.
The whole family blanched when I lifted the cast aloft. They hated what the cast represented. Still, they couldn't let it go. Your malignant clutter may have been tormenting you for years. But you're getting a fresh start, and this harmful clutter is presenting obstacles to your growth and success. Now's the time to get rid of your first batch of malignant clutter.
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If you simply must have a reminder that this stuff was part of your life, take a picture of it, then tuck away the physical photo in a desk, or stick the digital version deep into the belly of your computer. It's time to give this clutter to the world outside your home.
Gather up the pile and:
• Distribute items to friends or family.
• Sell things on Craigslist or on consignment.
• Donate it to Goodwill.
• Set things out on your curb with a sign that reads "FREE."
• Recycle whatever you can.
• Accept that some items are worthless and throw them in the trash.
After a long conversation, the family I was just telling you about agreed to my suggestion that we burn the cast as a way of saying good-bye to the cancer and signaling a new beginning. This was one of the most emotional moments I have ever had as a professional organizer. Everyone was in tears as flames reduced the cast to ashes. But in that moment, there was also a great sense of joy and release. By letting go of this piece of malignant clutter (the worst kind of malignant clutter, in fact), the whole family was free of the destructive power that it held over them. (Just don't make burning trash an everyday thing. Burning garbage is linked to pollution that harms your heart and brain, and could increase your risk of serious diseases.)
Adapted from Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight