A few days ago I purged my closet. It was HARD, harder than I thought. I was so sure I know what I have, that I didn’t keep things I don’t wear and that I love everything in my wardrobe. Well, I was wrong. I realized that in one of those mornings that I couldn’t get dressed because I couldn’t find something I love while scavenging through a bunch of unfamiliar & unwanted clothes. And that was it, I decided it’s time to truly face my closet and declutter! A month later, I did it! Wait, a month? Yes, I found this task intimidating, I knew I’ll have to face shopping decisions I regret.
So while I asked myself questions like “did I wear it in the past year?” and “do I love this item?”, I realized I, as a minimalist, was afraid to declutter! I had many reasons for ignoring the stuff I accumulated and putting off going through my many wrong purchases (or even just things I no longer love). And I know all my family and friend face the same feeling when I urge them to declutter. We all go through similar feeling!
It’s time I’ll help out and tell you how to overcome your fear of decluttering! I went through this myself more than once and can guarantee it helps!
1. You feel like you’re wasting money
Every time you want to get rid of something, you don’t see the item, you see its price tag. You see how much you spent instead of seeing the purpose of the item. Decluttering can feel like we’re just throwing money to the trash since we already paid for the item and it represents the money we won’t get back.
How to overcome it:
Acknowledge the money won’t come back! Yep, simple as that. You can try to sell the things you no longer want to keep, but that’s about as close as you’ll get to see your money’s worth out of things you already purchased. You should be honest with yourself, admit you made a mistake by spending money on something that is now worthless to you and use it as a lesson for the future.
An item can be worthless to you for many reasons – it doesn’t fit, you don’t love it, you don’t use it, it serves no purpose, etc. The point is, that no matter how much it cost you, now it’s worthless and takes valuable space in your home and mind.
2. You have no time
Decluttering is a process, you tell yourself that it will take all this time that you don’t have. There’s so many rooms, cabinets, drawers, shelves full of stuff you have no idea what they are and don’t want to deal with. So instead of just starting with one drawer, one shelf, one room – you just decide you don’t have that kind of time and it’s not possible (right now, but one day…).
How to overcome it:
There are a few different systems you can work with to break down a huge project into assignments:
- Put a timer for 15-30 minutes every day (In the morning or straight from work) and declutter everything you can in that time. Even if you only get one drawer – that’s a step forward!
- Make a list of everything you need to declutter, break it down by rooms, then sections and smaller areas. Go through the list and do one section\area every day.
- Declutter while watching your favorite show or while listening to an audiobook or music. That way you won’t feel like you’re wasting time doing any of those things.
- Get your family involved. Give members of your family small assignments every day to accomplish.
And most importantly, remember that even the smallest of steps is a good progress.
3. You are overwhelmed
There’s just so much to declutter! You open one drawer and it’s such a mess, it’s intimidating. You have too many old receipts, old bills, clothing, souvenirs, boxes, it simply never ends! Why deal with all the clutter and face the mess if you can just close the drawer and ignore it exist? Maybe you had a hard day or week and can’t get yourself to deal with more decisions.
How to overcome it:
Make it fun! I know, it sounds crazy, but when you incorporate something fun with boring tasks, time flies by and it’s easier to get things done. I never clean without loud music and singing. And I never declutter without watching Youtube videos. You can also watch your favorite show while approaching a section of your home, 20-40 minutes will fly by and you won’t even realize how much work you got done.
4. You don’t want to have to buy more
We all have extra things that we defiantly don’t use. I have 3 shampoos that I don’t like in my bathroom cabinet because it will feel wasteful to get rid of it (and it is), but I never get around to it, I keep buying the shampoo I do like. So We tell ourselves we won’t throw those things away, because then we’ll have to buy more.
How to overcome it:
Super simple, while you encounter that feeling when decluttering, put those items on the side. Get a box or container, throw everything there and put it aside. If you used it in the near future (depends on the item, but I’ll say 6 months is enough to hold on to something), great! If not, it’s time, to be honest, and admit you won’t use it and that you have to buy more (but this time, something you’ll actually use).
5. You don’t know when you might need something again
How many things do you keep because you’re certain one day you’ll have to use them? I’m sure that a lot. We’re all human, and we like to feel secure and safe. That one day you’ll need those 10 bottles of shampoo that you never liked to begin with, you’ll have them right there! You keep super old bills that you probably have online, magazines with articles that you’ll read “one day” and all sorts of unnecessary stuff that you’re just too afraid to get rid of.
How to overcome it:
You should check if you actually need any of these things. For example, bills and receipts can be scanned and saved on a computer (and be backed on a cloud), extra cables and cords can be checked (if they match any of your existing devices), if you have doubles of anything you should only keep one. Solutions like that can take a longer time, but worth it in the end. When you’ll look for a cord, you’ll already know which cord it is and that everything you have has a purpose.
Things like old craft scraps, clothing you never wear, old toiletries, old decoration, etc, should be organized and placed separately from the rest of your possessions so when time passes by, you’ll know you didn’t reach for them, and can be content with decluttering them.
6. You are emotionally attached.
You can’t imagine getting rid of the dress you wore during the first date, or the 10 souvenirs you got on vacation, or a million happy birthday cards from people you can’t remember. Sarcasm aside, sometimes it’s truly hard to get rid of things that you have any kind of emotion attached to, and decluttering guides just say “get rid of everything!”(I’ll admit, mine says that too). But you simply can’t just toss things that bring up happy memories.
How to overcome it:
Make a pile of things you know and aware you’re keeping just because you are emotionally attached to. Only when you finish decluttering, go through that pile and find a solution for each item. Some things you can and should keep, don’t get rid of things that are making you happy. But ask yourself, why is this making me happy? Can I find another purpose to it? (like old tickets and souvenirs can be incorporated in a DIY project). You can also scan things like old movie tickets, birthday cards, etc.
Well, those were my decluttering excuses and solutions! I would love to hear, is there any excuse you use that I didn’t list here? I’ll be happy to help you get through it and find another creative way to deal! Adulting is hard 😛
Time and Money is my biggest reason why I don’t declutter. I have been wanting to go through our closets and storage and just do a full declutter, but I always find myself too tired to do it.
Hey Kristyn, In my course there are simple pointers on how to declutter when you’re tired and overwhelmed. Carve 15 minutes daily out of your schedule to declutter a little. After a few days, you’ll see a big change! And you will be more motivated to continue. Good Luck.
This post is speaking to me directly. I am keeping stuff for so long and use all the above excuses. Thanks for sharing.
Hey Marjie, I’ve used all those excuses myself too! But there’s a way to deal with anything, I hope this helps you.
This could be help me a lot I have a lot of things thatt
I cannot used it well for me I will try to sell them online! Thanks for giving me an idea! Kudos!
Hey Maysz, Selling things online def makes it better to declutter. Good luck.
Thanks for sharing these practical tips. I moved recently and had a massive clear out. I have many options but I organise different items according to groups so I know where things are.
Hey Kim, moving out forces you to face the clutter. Organizing by groups is a great tip.
The financial considerations are my biggest drawback. I love to declutter and get rid of things, but sometimes have trouble when it’s the more expensive items. I do try to sell it all first to at least recoup some of the money.
Hey Stephanie, reselling items helps with the feeling that you’re losing money. For the items we can’t sell, we need to see if they will ever be of use, if not, the money doesn’t matter anymore.
Great advice! I badly need to have a clear out as I can never find anything to wear even though my wardrobe is crammed full!
Hey Joanne, I know that feeling! The more we have, the less we want to wear lol. Declutter your closet and be mindful when filling it with only things you love!
Number five and six are the ones I relate to, especially when it comes to any baby clothes or kid stuff.
Hey Kayle, baby and kids stuff can be saved for another kid (if you’re planning), they could also be of great use for friends and family!
Nice contents:)) Thanks for posting
I need this post today. I keep thinking I need more storage, but really I just need less stuff. Money is the biggest reason. How silly!
Hey Jessa, storage and organizing cost more money. We need to declutter first before we look for more ways to organize that clutter. The money for that clutter won’t be back, and the money you’ll spend on organizing it won’t be back either.
This is really useful reading! I need to declutter any time soon and I will need these tips. Fortunately, we will paint our home later this summer and I think it’s a great way to do this.
Hey Helene, I hope my tips will help to declutter quickly before the painting 🙂
Time is the biggest reason why I can’t declutter. I feel like I have soooooooo many things to do that I can’t insert decluttering to it. haha
Hey Wendy, I’m sure you have 15 minutes a day you can spare for decluttering 🙂 It will make everything else much easier and eventually will save you time.
David Allen Elliott
Yeah sometimes just getting in motion means things get done. When you get stagnant it feels like too much work to do. So just getting in motion is so important.
Hey David, I agree. Just start and things will flow eventually…
A lot of times I don’t get rid of something because I forgot I had it, but when I see it I’m like “oh this is so cute, I should wear this. I forgot I had it.” But then I put it back and forget about it again. Every time I see it I think I’ll remember to wear it because it’s still cute. Or, sometimes I will remember to wear it, but then I’ll only wear it once or twice and then forget about it for another year or more, and then the whole process starts again. How can I fix this?
Hey Sara, I have a few ideas for you:
1. Have as many clothes as you can visible – either hang them by colors/ occasions or fold them in a way you always see what you have.
2. Organize your outfit for the week on Sundays – prepare hangers with the outfit you’re going to wear and then you’ll have more time to think about what you like and find the best outfits!
3. Take pictures of outfits you like and are easy “go-to’s” and look at them when you’re getting dressed. That way you won’t have to remember what you have bc you’ll have pictures of them.
I hope this helps! 🙂