The big, obvious answer is that the “keep what brings you joy, get rid of the rest” idea didn’t fit my situation. The clutter kept me feeling safe, for decades.
If it works for you? Great! But easy answers didn’t work for me. Or even some very complicated ones. It isn’t now nor has it ever been about just getting rid of stuff.
Also, I can’t say yet that purging stuff brings me joy. The redecorated living room, which works, that brings me joy, but getting rid of the stuff does NOT. It brings me anxiety and fear. It brings me determination and steeling myself against my “old self,” but joy?
I have tried many ideas for purging stuff and cleaning house. Until I dealt with a lot of the PTSD and figured out the function of the mess (see link) there was no way I could clean the house and KEEP it clean.
My hoarding was never about laziness or thinking things had value. And it was more complex than I had dolls when I was a girl — therefore dolls make me happy — so I have too many. (That last scenario seems to be what the “psych” side of “Hoarders” is like.)
I still have too much stuff and bad habits. But it’s getting better, and mostly staying that way. It ebbs and flows. I have no idea wtf is “normal” that way, so I decided a few months back that I wasn’t going to worry about it. As long as I’m not continually reconstructing the mess/barrier, I’m good.
Not your standard — oh well!