10 Reasons Why It’s So Difficult To Declutter

Decluttering can be tough! Today I wanted to share 10 reasons why decluttering is so difficult and ideas and tips to combat those reasons.

{{ONE}} The first reason people may find it difficult to declutter is that they are OVERTHINKING. When decluttering, decisions should be made quickly. I would say within 5-10 seconds your gut instinct is likely right. Believe me, I know this is tough because I am probably the queen of overthinking! Not just with decluttering, but literally everything in life! This is something you need to just train yourself to do, and like anything else it gets easier with practice.

{{TWO}} The second reason is because THE ITEM IS SENTIMENTAL. Decluttering sentimental items can be very difficult. My encouragement on this one is actually to do the opposite of what I just suggested above and with sentimental items give yourself time. You need to be ready to let go of sentimental items. It can take time to get there, and that’s okay. There is no right or wrong amount of sentimental items to own because each person is different. One idea, which I got from the concept of Swedish Death Cleaning, is to think about if this is something your children or the younger generation would want to hold onto. Is this meaningful to just you, or would it be meaningful to your family members when you are gone?

{{THREE}} The third reason it is difficult to declutter is adjacent to sentimental items and that is it’s NOT EASY TO REPLACE. It can be difficult to let go of sentimental items because they cannot be replaced, but there are other reasons why items might be difficult to replace. Perhaps it is vintage or no longer in production so you can’t just go out and get the same thing. Or perhaps you don’t have the financial means to replace something readily. I am definitely sympathetic to these reasons and recognize sometimes you need to be intentional about the decluttering process.

{{FOUR}} Number four is that IT WAS A GIFT. This one is tough. I have talked about this in blog posts before. My take on gifts is that once the giver gives you the gift, the item belongs to you and you have a right to do with it as you please. You can appreciate the gesture behind the gift being given to you, and perhaps you used it or it was meaningful to you for a period of time. However, I think it is silly to be expected to keep every gift ever given to you. If an item is no longer being used or loved, it makes more sense to pass it along to someone who could get value from it. I am sure the gift giver would feel the same way, and would not want the gift to just clutter up your space or cause you stress.

{{FIVE}} The fifth reason decluttering might be difficult for you is because you are trying to do too much and EXPERIENCE DECISION FATIGUE. I recognize that there might be certain instances where you do need to go through a large amount of things in a short time – perhaps you are going through a deceased loved one’s home, you’re moving, or there are some other time frames put on you. If this is not the case, don’t feel like you need to declutter your entire home in one weekend! Or even an entire room. Know your limits on decision fatigue and come up with a plan based on that. I encourage people to set a timer or pick one space that is manageable – like one drawer – and then come back again at a later time. These things can help with preventing decision fatigue.

{{SIX}} The sixth reason is that you are PUTTING TOO MUCH VALUE OR IMPORTANCE ON YOUR STUFF. This one was a tough one for me to face in my own life. If you really think about what is important in life, none of it is stuff. For me the most important things are in the category of relationships or experiences. Most stuff can be replaced. If we have this perspective, decluttering becomes easier.

{{SEVEN}} The seventh reason is that you don’t have ENOUGH TIME. Like I mentioned previously, instead of thinking about decluttering your entire house, focus on one space at a time. Setting a timer for 15 minutes a day, or even a week, is better than not decluttering at all.

{{EIGHT}} Number eight is adjacent to number seven, and that is you FEEL OVERWHELMED. When you have a lot to declutter, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start. My advice is to just pick a place and start! I encourage people to start with an area of your home that gets the most traffic. When you see progress in a place where you are spending a lot of time it can give you the motivation to keep going. Another tip is to choose a place that the decisions are easier to make – like in the kitchen or bathroom. These places have a lot of items that can be easily replaced. There is usually no sentimental attachment to items in these spaces as well, making the decision making easier. As we make decluttering decisions, it gets easier over time!

{{NINE}} The ninth reason people find it difficult to declutter is that they DON’T HAVE MOTIVATION. This is a tough one and I’m sympathetic to this as there are other areas in my life which I struggle with motivation. If decluttering becomes part of your every day or every week routine, over time it gets easier. There are always going to be things in life that we don’t really want to do, but as long as items are coming into your home, decluttering should be a regular practice.

{{TEN}} Lastly, number ten is that IT’S NOT YOUR STUFF. I am also very sympathetic to this one! I have a husband and three kids, so I have had to learn to allow them to declutter their own items and to be patient and understanding when they keep things that I would get rid of! My best advice is to just be an example to them of letting go of your own items which no longer serve you. Over time, they will see the value in living with less. It is also an opportunity to grow as a person, because everyone has a certain level of external chaos they can handle and if a family member is not bothered by their stuff, we need to learn to live with it because the relationship is important to us!

Well, I hope these ideas were helpful to you. Decluttering is not always easy, but as we make it a regular part of our lives, it does get easier over time!

Here is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

One thought on “10 Reasons Why It’s So Difficult To Declutter

  1. This post is such a truth bomb! And I am guilty of all these reasons about decluttering.

    But with practice, I guess I am doing better and better. Moving to a new place helped as I did a major decluttering! I thought that I would regret letting go of the things with sentimental value, but no. I did something better out of it by taking pictures of them and stored them on google photos. Digital is the way to go! I am liking the feeling of having more space in our home better than keeping a lot of storage boxes.

    loved this post!

    Like

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