Why Decluttering is So Hard | How to Overcome
Why Decluttering Is So Hard
We know decluttering is the answer, but we think to ourselves, “decluttering is so hard.”
When you envision your dream home, what does it look like? Does it have piles of papers sitting on the kitchen counter? Does it have a basement overflowing with things you don’t use? Does it have a closet that you can’t open because things will spill out? I doubt you imagine these things in your dream home, but I’m betting some of these things are in your real home.
Why? Why are you keeping your home from being a space that you love and enjoy? Is that overstuffed closet giving you a headache? Do you wish you could use the space in your basement more productively?
6 Reasons Why Decluttering Is So Hard
I’m going to address 6 main reasons why people have a hard time getting rid of their stuff. Plus, I will give you some tips to overcome those obstacles.
First, I want you to understand that there really is a lot of psychology behind how we think about our material possessions. We often link our possessions to different memories, emotions, feelings of self-worth and so on.
We often subconsciously make a link between what we have and who we are. We feel as if letting go of our possessions means letting go of a part of ourselves.
While you can express yourself through your possessions, don’t let your possession rule who you are. The material possessions you have obtained in this life do not make you worthy or worthless. Your heart is what really matters.
So don’t let what you possess own you. Learn to let go and free up some space in your home and your mind. Learning how to declutter will do so much for you than give you more space in your home.
If you want to know more about the psychology behind putting our self-worth in our belongings, I recommend reading this study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
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#1 I Can’t Find Time to Declutter
The biggest reason why decluttering is so hard is because you don’t feel like you have time. Time is hard to come by. This life is busy and society puts pressure on us to be busy. It’s like if you aren’t on the go all of the time, then you are doing something wrong. I get it. Time is hard to come by, but it’s also an excuse. You make time for what is important. Really want to declutter? Then make time.
Declutter in Sections
Okay, so, I realize that is probably not what you wanted to hear. Just remember it’s a process. Give yourself a break and don’t expect to get it all done at once. The best way to make time is by chunking up your house into a bunch of small sections. Don’t think about decluttering your bedroom. Think about decluttering your closet. If you have a big closet then think about decluttering one rack or one shelf.
Declutter As You Go
It also helps to do things as you go. Need to declutter your makeup bag? Take 5 minutes and go through it when you finish up your make up. Go through extra products in the bathroom on your bathroom cleaning day. Clean out the refrigerator while you wait for the water to boil.
Get A Baby Sitter
Another way to make time is to have grandma watch the kids for a day while you tackle as much clutter as you can. Do this a couple of times and your house will be in tip-top shape in no time.
#2 The Clutter Is Overwhelming and I Don’t Know Where To Start
This goes hand in hand with not feeling like you have enough time. You stare at the piles of junk and the overstuffed closets and you don’t know where to start. You ask yourself how things got like this and you feel it’s gone too far to ever go back. NOT TRUE!
It will take you less time to declutter your whole house than it took you to get into this mess. You can continue to let it get worse and worse, or you can stop the madness!
Add Some Fun And Ask For Help
You can lessen the overwhelm by adding some fun and asking for help. Add fun by turning on your favorite tunes or even your favorite television show. Also, try setting a timer to see how much you can get done in a set amount of time.
If you enjoy reading you can also add some fun by reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Reading this will definitely get you motivated to declutter. This book is very inspirational and will help you overcome all of your decluttering obstacles. Better yet, you can listen to the audiobook while you declutter! If that isn’t a genius idea, then I don’t know what is.
**You can even get The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for FREE. Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Amazon Audible and get two free audiobooks! Sign up here.
Okay, let’s get back to it and talk about how you should ask for help when needing to declutter…
Asking for help was one of the best things that I did. I got a ton of help with our basement when it was in really bad shape. My in-laws helped us carry some of the heavy stuff out. Then, in one afternoon, I was able to get the whole place in order with some help from my mom.
#3 I Feel Guilting When I Start To Declutter
Decluttering is so hard because you will feel guilty about getting rid of stuff… at first. I know you are holding onto things that you don’t use and that serve no purpose in your home, because of guilt. You feel guilty because someone gave it to you and feel like you have to keep it.
It sits in a cabinet and you have never used it, but you won’t get rid of it. Or perhaps you feel guilty because you spent a lot of money on something like a shirt… that you never wear. You tell yourself, “That’s a really nice shirt, that I spent a lot of money on, I should really wear it.”
Yet, it still sits in your closet… unworn; because let’s be honest, it’s not really your style and it was an impulse buy.
Despite all of this guilt you are feeling, you really just need to let it go.
Give It purpose By Giving It Away
Somehow the guilt goes away with the object. That gift that you aren’t using… it can be given to someone who will use it. It is going to waste sitting in your cabinet. The person who gave it to you, probably wanted you to love it, but they love you more and don’t want you hanging onto guilt about an object that is no use to you.
That money you wasted on that fancy shirt you don’t wear… it’s already wasted. You bought the shirt, the deal is done, the money is already spent. Every time you see it in your closet and decide not to wear it, you feel guilty. Just let it go. You might even be able to sell it and get some of your money back. Or give it away for free to someone who really needs it. The guilt will go away with the shirt.
#4 I Might Need This One Day
Decluttering is so hard because you don’t want to get of something and end up needing it later. Be completely honest with yourself. Will you ever actually use it? Have you ever used it? What is the worst thing that could happen if you end up needing it and you have gotten rid of it?
You might have to buy it again. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having to borrow it from someone.
However, this rarely, if ever, happens. It has happened to me with one item. Other than that, I have never missed a single thing I have gotten rid of.
#5 My Significant Other Doesn’t Want to Get Rid of Things
Decluttering is so hard because everyone in the house is not on board. This can happen and this is okay. First of all, it’s okay if your “person” doesn’t want to get rid of their things while you are ready to throw all of yours out the window. I’m guessing it’s taken you some time to come to the conclusion that decluttering is what you need. Give your spouse, or whoever, some time and they may come to this conclusion too.
You can declutter plenty of things without even touching items that belong to your spouse. They will see the benefits, enjoy the cleaner house, and begin to feel more comfortable with letting go of some of their things.
If you want to declutter their belongings or things that you share, include them in the process and ask for their input.
Quick Tips For Helping Your Spouse Declutter
- Start with clothing, this seems to be the easiest for people to get rid of
- Suggest items you would like to get rid of and tell them why
- If they aren’t ready to part with something, then don’t force it
- Place items in storage as a trial run
There will be items that you want to get rid of, that they don’t want to part with. Just remember that everyone has a different perspective and what you think of an item may be different than what they think of it. This is okay! Some things you just have to be okay with keeping.
#6 Decluttering Sentimental Items
Decluttering is so hard because we tend to get attached to material objects. Even if we don’t use them and they sit in a box in the basement. Just remember that the memories you already have are better than any object you can keep.
If you must keep things. Try to keep it to one memory box per person.
Quick Tips For Dealing With Sentimental Items
- Remember items are meant to be enjoyed not kept in storage
- Give away sentimental items to another family member that will use it and not just store it
- Honor the items by bringing them out of storage and using them in your home
- Be creative and repurpose items that mean something to you
- Memories are meant to be shared not hidden
- If your only option is to keep it in storage then consider getting rid of it
Absolute Minimalism Doesn’t Need To Be The Goal
Remember that you don’t need to be the epitome of a minimalist. You are getting rid of the unimportant things, to make room and time for what really matters.
You should now be able to overcome any decluttering obstacle that stands in your way. Remember that it’s a process. The obstacle may be tough for you but the hard work will pay off! You will be enjoying the newfound space in your home in no time.
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