Decluttering is usually one of the most emotional portions of redecorating, moving or simply reappropriating a room in your house. Any time you’re ready to change your space, it can be totally draining to have to face a mountain of stuff- most of which stays with us not because we want it, but because we feel compelled to keep it.
Most of are stuff keeps us feeling suffocated because we’re stuck in emotional attachments to them- guilt, buyer’s remorse, procrastination, obligation to keep lugging stuff around, disorganization. If you’re ready to declutter but you just can’t seem to face your stuff, there may be some emotions you need to address before you move forward.
Here’s Why It Pays To Declutter:
- If you’ve been late to work or have trouble getting out the door because you can’t find something, it’s time to cut back.
- Your clutter could be costing you cash- paying to store or paying $10 for bins to “organize” junk you don’t need in the first place.
- If you’re moving to a new location, shipping, hiring a mover or renting a truck can mean big bucks. If you don’t need to spend $500, DON’T.
- Decluttering not only clears your space, but your life. If new agey retreats and meditation don’t appeal to you, you’d be amazed at the soul renewal that comes from a good declutter.
How To Take The Emotion Out Of Decluttering:
Often, many of us are derailed on our attempts to declutter and reorganize because we have an unrealistic attachment to the stuff we own. These unhealthy attachments fall into Someday stuff: “Someday I’ll finish this quilt!”, Guilt stuff: “If I hadn’t gained so much wait, I’d still be able to wear this” and Obligatory stuff: “My aunt gave me this and if I don’t keep it, she’ll ask me about it.”
Dealing With The “Someday Stuff”
A.K.A. Unfinished Projects & The Clutter That Goes With It
Last year, when I moved out of my first Chicago apartment, I had to deal with the fact that I was looking at some major unfinished craft projects and it really irked me that they weren’t done, yet I didn’t have the gumption to tackle them. Would it make you feel better just to toss them? If you’re insistant they get done- set a date to get them done, mark it on the calendar, otherwise, toss or donate them. Unless you’re willing to commit to a finish date, they wont’ get done.
Dealing With The “Guilt Stuff”
A.K.A. Pants That Don’t Fit, Clothes You Bought But Never Wore & Other Impulse Buys
It looked so cute on the rack, then you got home with good intentions but you never wore it. Or, perhaps with weight loss or gain, you no longer fit into clothes you used to but they’re still “good” clothes. Remind yourself, that clothes and clutter, if gone unused or simply driving you crazy does no one any good. If you’re feeling guilty about wasting money, you don’t get that money back by having it hanging in your closet- donate it or sell it to recoop the costs or finally make that item useful to another person who can finally use it. Dust collectors help no one.
If you’re feeling guilty about weight gain, holding onto a little black dress that doesn’t fit anymore doesn’t help you lose weight or get active. If you’re happy with your weight or simply don’t feel like changing, that’s okay too- but holding on to old stuff as a reminder of the fun times you had sporting it, serves no one- it just keeps you stuck in the past.
Dealing With “Obligatory Stuff”
A.K.A. Stuff You’re Holding On For Other People But Don’t Want
We often hold onto our stuff for other people- gifts we didn’t like but hold onto in fear we could hurt feelings, or magazines we intend on giving to a friend, just lots and lots of clutter that we don’t want, yet we feel holding onto it honors other people. Well hun, it doesn’t.
If you have a gift that you’ll fear an auntie will be crushed if you donate, perhaps let her know you had another friend who absolutely adored it and you passed it onto her to brighten her home (even if that friend is a random stranger at the thrift store, she doesn’t need to know). If you have things you’ve been holding onto for a friend for over a month or you keep forgetting to give to her- there might be a reason you haven’t passed it on so go ahead and donate, toss it or put it in your purse, car or put it in the mail right now! Anything that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies should be on it’s way to GONE.
Quick Decluttering Tips To Remember
- If you’re holding onto stuff out of obligation, chances are it’s in your head. The gifter probably won’t remember, and if they do- let them know you passed it on to someone special who loved it as much as you do.
- Stuff that we hold onto out of regret or “hope” doesn’t actually help motivate us to change habits (like start exercising) Letting go of the guilt can be the key to moving on and getting started on real change.
- Put things you feel emotional about in a box, if you don’t use it or think about it in 6 months, donate the box without pilfering through it, activating another emotional cycle.
- If you have a penchant for knick-knacks & small items that don’t have a good spot to display or get in the way- remember not everything has to be on display at once! Cycle your favorite pictures, figurines and collectibles.
- Ask yourself: What emotion (that isn’t love or usefulness) is causing me to hold onto this item and how is it holding me back? Has this item been lurking around in the hopes I’ll use it, but I never do? Do I have multiples of this item or could a different item I already have be of better use? What about this item is keeping me from having the clean space I desire- would I truly miss it?