Decluttering is one of the first steps to an organized home. The emotions that emerge when sifting through items in your home can overtake your motivation to declutter. We all experience emotions when working through items acquired through our life experiences. Hope, fear, guilt and emotional attachment may prevent us from decluttering our homes. Identifying, understanding, and overcoming these emotions will help you create the peaceful home you desire.
Here are some key areas to consider to help overcome these strong emotions.
Setting Small Goals
Have you started to declutter in the past, but the project was too overwhelming? When emotions arise, cutting the clutter can be nearly impossible to tackle. Breaking the process down in steps or a method can make the project manageable and reduce overwhelm. Instead of telling yourself you are going to organize the basement this weekend, set the goal of gathering one category of items. Getting all items together is a task that is clearly defined and does not bring on the overwhelm of the entire organizing process.
Gathering tools, pants, or pots and pans feels much more manageable than getting an entire room organized in one weekend. Once a category is gathered, set the next goal of sorting the category. Dividing the items into: need/love, don’t need/dislike, and might use/its okay categories is a task that can be completed in a reasonable time. Breaking down the individual tasks in an organizing project will help reduce overwhelm.
The things in our home and life arrived because of a life event. Revisiting these items may bring back memories. A college backpack, an engraved pen set, wedding dress, handwritten notes and cards, artwork, sporting goods, or tools and crafts were acquired at a time of life when there was an accomplishment, celebration, or a life change. It was a big time in your life. An array of emotions may surface when approaching these things making you feel the need to keep the items. Understand these items are not who you are. Your life experiences have shaped who you are today, not the stuff. Letting go of items will not change who you are, what you have experienced, or what you have accomplished.
The emotion of fear prevents us from decluttering our homes. We keep items because they offer a sense of security. Fear may exist because you feel you may not have the resources someday to purchase the items or the items may not be available.
The first step in overcoming this fear is understanding if you will even need or use the item someday. You may be hanging on to hobby items you will not have the time or physical ability to use again, but fear if you get rid of them, you may not have the resources to purchase them again. You may have a pantry full of expired food because you fear you may not have the resources someday to buy food. You may fear you will hurt someone if you donate the wedding gift they gave you. Understanding why you are afraid of purging the things in your home can help you overcome the fear and be realistic about what you keep in your home.
Would You Buy It Today?
Ask yourself if you would buy the item today. This question is great when you are decluttering household items, personal care items, and clothing. If you were to make a decision on whether to purchase a particular item right now, would you? Would you purchase that kitchen gadget, lipstick, or clothing item you have in your closet today? You may have truly enjoyed the item at one time. Maybe you believed the item would make you more efficient in the kitchen. If your answer to this question today is anything but “yes,” the items do not have a place in your home.