It’s not easy, to let go of things in your home that no longer serve you.
But once you understand why you keep your stuff as if your life depended on it, then you move forward. That’s the key however hard it is to do.
The process often brings up feelings we don’t want to deal with.
However, when you let go of things in your home, in your relationships, in your day, the end result is an incredible feeling of liberation.
Today we’ll focus on reasons you can’t let go of things in your home, those accumulated items in your living space behind closed doors, inside closets, drawers, and as decoration.
Decluttering is scary and takes courage. Each item brings up mixed messages between your will to feel lighter vs the fear of letting go.
It’s quite the emotional battle.
However, when you decide to move forward and let go of things, you’ll finally put away that bag full of excuses. And yes, you can win!
If that time is now, then good for you!
Use this Simple Checklist
Need more space? Ready to give up what you don’t need?
Download these simple questions to make the process easier.
FIRST THINGS FIRST BEFORE YOU LET GO
Before striving towards a clutter-free home you absolutely have to find the core reason why you want to declutter.
If you cling to your excuses, you’ll cling to your clutter.
Take time and understand why you can’t let go of things you don’t need.
Why are you hanging onto all the excess items populating your closets and drawers?
Why do you keep so much?
What are your personal reasons or obstacles for not giving up what you don’t use?
We just own too much for too many reasons and you need to know your own why.
Let Go of Things Before They Own You
Most of us own way too much. And we all have a good reason for it.
We buy things because we like something, we need comfort, we think we’ll use it, we stuff our feelings, we like to impress, we believe the promise on the box, it’s a way to look cool or protect ourselves, we want to feel a certain way,…
We buy and keep piles of physical items for many reasons and those reasons are usually related to how we feel.
But the more we store undealt feelings within us, the more we need to compensate, the more we buy or keep unwanted stuff, and the more we feel empty.
How do you feel right now? How have you felt for the past few years?
It’s an insidious cycle powered by our excuses.
So if you’re feeling weighed down by certain feelings, try and first let go of physical things. Practice with certain items in your home you no longer use and really don’t care about.
The rest will follow.
NOTE: Do the searching first, understand what your personal reason might be for keeping everything you own when you know it’s too much. Write it down and read it often.
RELATED READING: Simple Living Baby Steps Lead to Big Changes
These 5 thoughts often prevent us from moving forward. They may help answer your question.
LET GO OF GUILT
Did you buy an expensive item and feel shame in giving it away?
Are you keeping an item representing who you once were, but you’re no longer the same person?
Were you given a valuable gift, and it seems sad to part with it although you don’t have a particular attachment to this item?
How many items do you own with “should keep” feelings attached to it?
How many times have you bought something impulsively and no longer have use for it?
Can’t let go of things because they are practically new? Because the items were expensive? Because you’d use it if you remembered where you put it?
Or you can’t get rid of it because you didn’t really need it, but it feels wasteful to give it up?
Answer these few questions honestly and feel more comfortable about giving up your belongings.
Understand that keeping things you don’t love or need, blocks the positivity energy in your home.
The more you accumulate and keep out of guilt, the worse you feel inside.
Just remember that when we keep guilt on our shelves and in our drawers, it leaves no space for us to grow and be who we are.
It’s very hard, but it’s a choice you need to make.
TRY THIS : Find an item you just can’t part with.
Test it out. . Can you use it several times this week with ease?
If yes, ask yourself this additional question: do you love this item? Is it an item you’d notice if it was missing? If yes, then store it within easy access and use it often.
If not, then free yourself of the guilt attached to this item and put it in a giveaway box or gift it to someone you know will use it.
BUT IT WAS A GIFT.
Guilt strikes again.
Do you feel it’s an offense towards the person who offered you this gift if you gave it away?
Keeping a gifted item you don’t use just adds clutter to your home.
When someone gives you a gift, they are, in fact, giving you a message.
It’s a message of friendship, of love. They are telling you how they feel about you.
So appreciate the gesture, keep loving the person for thinking of you in this unique way…thank them genuinely for their thoughtful and caring message.
By all means, nurture those beautiful feelings.
But give up the item if you don’t use it.
It doesn’t matter if you received it from your family, friend, colleague, or other special people.
You’ll always appreciate their thought and message towards you even without the physical item in your closet.
TRY THIS: Search throughout your home for gifts you’ve received but don’t use.
Pick up each gift and try to understand why you want to keep it.
Now separate the person from the gift.
Would you buy this for yourself? Do you really love it? When was the last time you used it?
If you’re keeping it out of guilt, then rest assured it is ok to give it up.
BUT I REALLY THINK I NEED IT
Most of us who have or had a clutter problem usually think: I’ll keep this because one day I might need it.
And maybe one day you will. Unless you can’t find it and go back out to buy another one. Which you won’t be able to find either because you don’t use it enough.
If months or years go by before you wear it, cook with it or use it in any way, or if you use it, but rarely, then it’s time to give it up.
Forget that it costs money. Ok, you spent a lot, but you can’t keep something forever because of its price tag and even less if you only have use for it once in a blue moon.
The ongoing conflict between our excuses and reality proves how hard it is to let go of things we own.
Give yourself permission to own less. Be kind to yourself a little more. You don’t know how? Start by clearing space on the outside.
Once you taste the freedom of only using what you love and appreciating those items that actually serve you, there’s no going back.
It’s like being reborn. You have more space within yourself to grow and be creative. To focus and concentrate on what you truly want.
You have room to breathe. Literally.
Always ask yourself these simple decluttering questions: Do I love it? Do I use it often? If it disappeared tomorrow would I even miss it?
Separate your guilt from the item. Keeping it will cloak your feelings, but it won’t make you feel better.
Understand that you are not your stuff.
TRY THIS: Open up a big box. Go through your home pick up a minimum of 6 items that don’t serve a real purpose in your present life, then put it in a box.
Also, pick up a minimum of 6 decorative items that may look nice but you don’t particularly love. Liking it a little doesn’t count. You really have to feel it’s a beautiful thing to keep it!
Once you’ve filled the box, keep it out of sight for a few weeks. See what happens.
BUT MY ITEMS MAKE ME SAFE
Our overflowing drawers and closets give most of us a false sense of safety.
You may feel ok because you’re surrounded by a physical armor of sorts, but even organized clutter leaves very little space for your emotions.
Not paying attention to your feelings, in the long run, will only force you to keep and accumulate more and more things.
It’s a hard cycle to break and a process that inevitably brings on a wave of emotions.
Yet, when you realize you can depend on yourself and no longer need an accumulation of outside stuff to feel safe, that’s when you get strong and resilient.
Slowly. Slowly. Slowly. Remember small steps.
Don’t attach your self worth to your possessions.
When the time comes, and you’re ready to let go of things, liberation awaits.
TRY THIS: Put a timer for 15 minutes – each day for 5 days – and declutter items you’ve kept but don’t use.
Choose a drawer, a cabinet.
If that’s too much, choose a box. Start small. But start!
These items are probably the absolute hardest to let go of.
They range from the tea set you fell in love with at a garage sale but rarely used, to the kid’s kindergarten scribbles, to the belongings of a loved one who’s passed.
Sentimental items fill up quite a few boxes.
Boxes that span a lifetime where each item represents something important with its own unique story behind it.
Sentimental items are linked to a person, a place, or a special event. It may also be linked to the person you used to be.
When you let go of sentimental items, you may feel like you’re giving away a piece of your life. Or someone else’s life.
But your not.
Memories stay with us as long as we cherish them.
Keeping an item and cherishing a memory is sometimes incompatible.
One lives in a box and takes up space, and the other lives in your heart and is always nourished by your memory.
Once you understand the difference, things get much more comfortable.
I suggest you work on the easy items first before you tackle your sentimental items.
TRY THIS: When you’re ready, pick up several of your sentimental items.
With a notebook in hand, we’ll call it the Memory Notebook, take an item and write out its meaning in your memory notebook.
Use details and write why this is so special or important. Who gave it to you, what were the circumstances, how did you feel? You can even take a picture of the item and after printing, glue it on the opposite page.
Another option if you’re not into notebooks, is to scan each item individually and create a virtual memory video with each item’s story. . You can keep it in a special place or share it with other family members.
GO FIND YOUR REASON TO LET GO OF THINGS.
Remember the most common excuses?
Maybe I’ll need this one day… It was a gift… I worked hard to buy this, don’t want to just give it away to anyone… It belonged to my family… I’m keeping it for my kids… it’s a beautiful dress… it’s sentimental…
They all hide something deeper. Feelings you don’t want to look at. A time in the past, you wish to hang on to—a sense of false security, of not being alone.
Or even the fear of moving forward because you don’t know who you are.
If you feel overwhelmed and can’t let go of things accumulated, you must first understand why you’re keeping it all.
Once you know, It makes moving on easier.