Bobbi and I were standing in her future craft room (current "room of abyss"), decluttering and organizing. She was flipping through a stack of books she was donating, looking for random items that may have gotten stuck in between the pages…photos, birthday cards, bookmarks, etc. All of a sudden hundred-dollar bills started flying out from one of the books she was fanning through. She started laughing as she showed me. "This" she said "is why I never just throw anything out, you never know what might be hiding in there."
Buried Treasure. We are the modern-day pirates of our own homes. We work hard to keep our precious items safe, sound, and able to be found by us and us alone. But, have you ever put something somewhere really safe…I mean really safe and then completely forgotten where you put it? And then it just never reappears again? Or maybe it does, but you completely forgot it even existed? This has happened to everyone I know, including me. I innocently hold out hope that those treasures are sitting in another dimension (along with all my lost socks from the dryer), just waiting to reappear.
There are so many reasons why we might feel the need to bury our treasures. Sometimes we bury things so that no one else can find it. I'm notorious for doing this with food. God help you if you eat my last banana (I don’t need to name names, you know who you are ;-). I think I get that from growing up in a house with siblings. Siblings are honey badgers when it comes to taking your stuff. They just don't care. It may as well be theirs. Because we shared a womb they think "what's yours is mine" is a motto to live by. My sister was Houdini-like with her ability to wear my clothes and put them back in my closet before I got home from school. Even a door lock didn't deter her. This harmless, totally normal sibling behavior can sometimes set the stage for a feeling of defensiveness around our stuff, and the perceived need to protect and hide things. But I digress…
Ah, yes, back to buried treasure. As I said, sometimes we bury things so that no one else can find them. Other times, we feel ashamed and don't want anyone else to see our "loot" and hold us accountable to his or her standards (or the perceived standards we think they may be holding us up against). Sometimes, we are knowingly burying the treasure for our future selves to find. Sometimes we hide things so they can't be stolen. One of my clients, George, was remiss to label anything remotely valuable because he had experienced a break in where his valuables had all been stolen. Making his valuables too organized felt like he was basically hand delivering it to potential thieves.
As with most well designed plans, it is important for us to look at what we want to hide and why we may be hiding it. Be honest with yourself about what you need. From there you can come up with a plan to secure your treasure, either by setting boundaries with those you share space with, or coming up with the most amazing location ever to hide your treasure. When coming up with hiding solutions, think in reverse. If you are trying to hide valuables from potential thieves, organize them in a way that you can find them, but in a way that they look disinteresting to treasure seeking cat burglars (ie. labeling a box of gift cards as "paper clips"). And if you don’t want anyone to eat your last banana, communicate this need to those you live with, find a killer hiding spot that is a true safe space for you, or put up a sign that says "Danger! Eating this last banana might cause deep sighing, passive aggressive groaning, and door slamming".
This is an abundant world where we are truly fortunate to have so much. Keeping extra stuff just to make sure we have properly hidden the stuff we care about most doesn't help us, it hurts us by causing anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. We all deserve to have safe spaces in our home, and to keep certain items for ourselves without explaining it to anyone else. Safety and organization are not mutually exclusive, it just requires a bit of intention to achieve. Take time to brainstorm a few areas of your home that feel truly safe to you. If you don't have any right now, carve some out. We all deserve a safe little piece of earth to bury our treasures.