In today’s society, it is easy to end up with too much stuff. Despite our best intentions to maintain clutter-free living, things can sometimes seem to appear in our homes, and before we know it, we are surrounded by clutter. We meet many people who have tried decluttering their homes but were held back and cannot figure out why. Very commonly, the process of decluttering becomes complicated by feelings of guilt.
This guilt stems from various places; worry of scarcity, memories attached to items, the perceived value or cost of an item, and fear of being wasteful, to name a few. Despite our want and need to declutter our homes, guilt often holds us back.
Some who have grown up with parents or grandparents who struggled through adversity and scarcity may have a deep-seated worry of never having enough, which often translates to difficulty letting go. Today, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements, magazine articles, and social media telling us that more is more, which can also feed into the fear of scarcity. Reframing your thought process and implementing practical storage solutions can help immensely with this. Look at what you really need and the things that make you happy. It is worth really considering anything that doesn’t fall into these categories as clutter. As the saying goes, less really is more.
When someone close to us dies, it can be hard to let go of things that were either gifted by that person or belonged to them. It is important to remember that even though certain items may trigger memories, our memories will not vanish if we let go of an item. Memories are always with us, and there are ways to hold onto them without holding on to the item. Taking a photo before donating or selling it is a great way to remember the feelings this item may bring up.
Getting rid of an item that holds a high monetary value can also cause feelings of guilt. Our perceived value of certain items (such as designer shoes, handbags, clothing, and decor, for example) can make it challenging to declutter. Recouping some of the cost of the item by consigning or selling it online on a platform such as Poshmark can often help relieve this guilt.
Many of us are conscientious about our environment and not being wasteful. Reducing, reusing, and recycling is at the forefront of many people’s minds, but shouldn’t be a reason not to declutter. One way to deal with this guilt is to, once again, reframe your thought process. Try thinking about the items being useful for someone else. It is more wasteful to have something collecting dust in your home and not being used than to donate it to someone who will use it. Reframing your thoughts this way will help you declutter excess clothing, dishes, small appliances and kitchen items, furniture, toys, books, etc.
Even still, decluttering a home can be extremely overwhelming, especially when you try to do it on your own, so it is a great idea to get help. Professional organizers can help you reframe your thought process about the items cluttering your space and help you to let go of anything that is no longer serving you.