Probably my most personal blog ever!
This week I’ve been pretty quiet on social media as my beloved dog became very poorly on Monday morning and on Tuesday I had to make the heartbreaking decision to end his suffering and have him put to sleep. If any of you have pets, you’ll know they become part of your family and their loss can be just as sad as any other family bereavement. So why am I telling you this? Well, it helped me realise just how far I’ve come on my decluttering journey, and also just how easy it is to slip into hoarding tendencies again for anyone given a combination of circumstances. When I knew I was going to the vets and he wouldn’t be coming back home, the organiser in me kicked in and I found his insurance paperwork (straight away! Woo!) ready for the vets to complete. I then got all his medications together (he’s been poorly since he was 3, and lived to over 11 so was taking quite a few pills!). I knew I wouldn’t want to see his tablets when I came home, and that taking them back to the vets would be the best place for them to either be disposed of or as some were unopened they could go to someone else in need. So far, so good. Organised. Logical. Just how a professional declutterer should be hey? Then it all went a bit wrong! I said goodbye, and it absolutely broke my heart into pieces. I came home and just felt unbelievably lost and empty. Then the illogical hoarding instinct tried to kick back in. Bereavement is a major factor in hoarding and I was really reminded of this this week. I didn’t want to dust. The hoarding logic? The house would smell different, it felt like I was cleaning him away. Crazy huh? It’s just DUST! But to me, for a fleeting instant my hoarding instinct kicked in and it wasn’t just dust, it was linked to Fred the wonderdog. I’d clipped his fur on Saturday, and I knew that was in a bag in the bin. I considered getting it back out of the bin to keep. I saw his bowls, they made me cry. I saw random bits of fluff (fluff bunnies) in the corner of the room and couldn’t bring myself to hoover them away. Then I remembered my strategies for living and decluttering. Keep what is truly important and what sparks joy! Don’t look at keeping everything with a connection. Don’t concentrate on what to get rid of, concentrate on what’s important to keep. Just keep the ‘essence’ and joy sparking things and let the rest go. So I’ve kept his lead and harness, and the vet very kindly helped me take his paw print. Everything else, including his bed has either gone or is going, and I will do it with a smile. I don’t need ‘stuff’ to keep the memory of him, I don’t need to be afraid of forgetting him as I know I never will. Not surrounding myself with all his things enables me to move on quicker instead of surrounding myself with things that just amplify his loss. Keeping some items that make me smile means I treasure his memory, getting rid of things doesn’t mean I’m erasing him from existence. That’s important to remember, because with loss of a loved one it really should be turned around and instead of wallowing in the loss, when you’re ready turn it into being grateful for their life and celebrating and remembering that. By selecting the very small number of items which were most important has meant letting go of everything else is easier. There’s no panic or impulse to ‘grasp’ and hold on to everything even remotely to do with him. I have memories. I have photos. I have his lead, and his paw print is going to be tattooed on me as a permanent reminder of my furry best friend that saw me through boyfriends coming and going, endless peaks and troughs, having MiniT all the way through to creating the life I love. So if you’re struggling with hoarding tendencies remember even professional declutterers and organisers can fleetingly still have those thoughts. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Let’s tackle it together! Much love Heather x
Ps wasn’t he beautiful? ❤️