Decluttering. Overwhelming, yet boring. Anxiety producing yet cathartic. Simple yet multi-tiered.
Why, oh why is it so much harder to get rid of stuff, than it is to acquire it in the first place?!
I’ll tell you why. Because once you bring something into your home it imprints on you. It becomes your responsibility, and that sense of responsibility takes over.
“Can’t just throw this advertising ball-point pen away, I have to make sure it goes to someone who can use it.”
“This enormous platter probably has some value. I should open an eBay account and sell it.”
“My great aunt Ethel gave me this set of cheese forks as a wedding gifts. I love her, therefore I should love the cheese forks, even though I’ve never used them in twenty years of marriage.”
“I should keep this huge pile of scrappy towels, as I might need to clean up something messy some day.”
Multiply this by a thousand, and you’ve got an insane number of decisions to make. And if it takes you an hour to get rid of each and every unused and cluttery item in your house, you will never get to the point of a decluttered home.
How do I know this? Because I have gone through this, and continue to go this this mindset. I see potential in less than perfect items. Those thin magnets that come attached to the phone books? They would look cute Mod-Podged with old maps. And that wobbly dresser I plucked from a curb? It would be super easy to re-glue and turn it into something spectacular.
The creative mindset that sees potential in everything is the same mindset that creates a home overfilled with stuff.
The answer for me lies in being hard on myself. This may sound borderline masochistic, but being my own taskmaster is the only method that works. I’ve even noticed that being in a bad mood actually aids the process, as it cuts the sentimentality in half. (Not that I’m ever in a bad mood, as puppy dogs, butterflies and baby unicorns usually float through my clutter-free home. Oh, who am I kidding?)
And once I get an area decluttered with a system for order in place, I want to keep it that way. My bedroom closet, with its matching Goodwill wooden hangers is a pleasure to behold. Everything is easy to find, and easy to keep clean. And that drawer organizer that I made for my desk? It’s as tidy as the day I first placed the sharpies into their own special cubby.
Hello, lover . . .
Do I have an answer or specific advice for wannabe declutterers?
Recognize that the stuff in your home is just that. Stuff. Some of it useful, some of it beautiful and some of it with potential. But it’s still just stuff.
And what would happen if you did get rid of something that you later needed, would the world come to an end? Or would it be possible to borrow that infrequently used item from a friend, neighbor or family member.
This is all coming from me, the woman who salivates over the perfect lamp, the perfectly textured cloth napkin and studies the weather forecast for possible spray paint friendly days. (FYI: between 50° and 90°.) I love my stuff, but I know it’s just stuff.
And after countless donated loads of stuff to my local Goodwill, I have zero regrets.
Because once it’s out of my house, it’s no longer my responsibility.
Ahhh . . .
Do you have a hard time getting rid of stuff once it enters your house? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”