The day has finally come – you set yourself a date to start decluttering your home and are eager and energized to transform your chaotic space into an oasis of zen. You start decluttering and getting rid of items, but you somehow feel as if you are not doing it right. The big feeling of liberation and satisfaction that comes from a proper decluttering session just doesn’t seem to manifest itself completely and you wonder what you are doing wrong.
Well, chances are – you are still too attached to some items that you don’t love. Unfortunately, we tend to come up with excuses not to get rid of them, a habit that is sabotaging our own way to a clutter-free living space.
Here are the Top 4 Excuses Not To Declutter An Item – And How To Beat Them!
1. “It cost me so much money”
The number one reason of people not wanting to part with an item is the fact that they had once spent a lot of money on them. Feeling guilt from throwing out something that we spent our hard earned dollars on is very common. However, just looking at how much you forked over for that specific item is the wrong approach. Rather, try looking at your belongings without the material aspect.
It doesn’t matter if an item was 1 or 100 dollars when you got it: if it doesn’t spark joy, it has to go. If you have such an item and still haven’t parted with it, think about it this way – whatever the cost of this item was, you are making this amount more valuable than your freedom and room to breathe. Now, if you look at it this way, is that 250-dollar coat you never wear and don’t even like worth keeping around if it stands directly in the way of you and your joyful space? Looking at items without emphasizing on their material worth will definitely help you declutter everything that doesn’t spark joy.
You may also try to sell the item instead of just donating it, as long as you are able to get rid of it quickly, don’t keep it around for longer than necessary. If it doesn’t sell, take a deep breath, do a good deed and bring it to the donation box asap. Remember: the value of your freedom from stuff that suffocates you is priceless.
2. “It was a gift”
The candleholder that your mother-in-law picked as a gift for your last birthday has a prominent spot in your home. The only problem is: it’s hideous (the candleholder, not the mother-in-law). But somehow you would feel guilty getting rid of it. After all, someone took the time to go to the store, browse through the shelves, and pick up something that they thought you would like. You feel like a bad person by not valuing this effort and the gift that comes with it. This feeling is normal, especially because we don’t want to disappoint people close to us.
But the truth is, keeping items around that others decide for us we should have, is taking the autonomy out of your life and your decision about how you want your space to be. Keeping things for the only reason that they were once gifts means self-sabotaging your journey to your ideal space. Nobody knows you as well as yourself; therefore, nobody else can make the decision of what should be in your life and what shouldn’t. And let’s be honest, most of the times, people don’t even remember what they gave you years ago. And not to be a downer, but most of the time they might not even have put as much thought in the gift as you think they did. Remember that last time you went to The BodyShop last-minute to buy that orange shower gel and sponge set for your bestie? There you go.
Always remember: YOU make the decisions about what sparks joy in you and what you allow in your life. Your space - your rules.
3. “I will use it one day”
Surprise – that day will never come. Or at least, chances are really really low for it to come anytime soon. Sometimes we keep items around because we are certain that it will be used one day, if only the circumstances were given. The typical example for this type of item are books or hobby items. You were inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow’s newest diet and went to purchase her cookbook. But for some reason, after noticing that you would have to purchase infused turtle tears and a rare species of Himalayan sweet potatoes, you kind of gave up on following that trend. And it makes you feel guilty. Every time you look at the cookbook, you regret not having kept on track and maybe even feel regret about one more resolution you didn’t keep up with.
You are creating unnecessary guilt and disappointment in yourself. Marie Kondo says, the ideal time to read a book is when you purchased it. You bought the item for a reason, because in that moment it seemed to fit perfectly into your life. However, if you have not used it until today, it has probably not been what you really needed at that time. Getting rid of those items will liberate you from false expectations and leave room for a guilt-free open environment, where everything is possible but nothing is mandatory.
4. “What if I suddenly need it?”
It is day 1 of the trial and you find yourself in front of the judge, who demands to see the only existing piece of evidence: the receipt of the sandwich maker you bought 2.5 years ago. Sweat is dripping down your face as you realize with panic: you have discarded it! There is no way out – you will be sentenced.
Funny enough, when trying to discard items we tend to come up with worst-case and pretty creative scenarios about how we could possibly be needing this or that item in the future, although it is cluttering our space. What if one day you will need this rare shape of screwdriver for a piece of furniture (that you have yet to buy), or the giant stash of extra shoelaces in colors you didn’t even know people wore… your mind will find a way to justify keeping an item around.
But what is also means is that we are guided by fears and worries and the question “what if”. Try to shift your perspective and don’t always expect the worse. Almost all material things can be replaced, but I guarantee, you most likely won’t even run into those situations where you would need the item that you never use. Fear about the future is one of the two reasons people don’t discard items that don’t spark joy according to Marie Kondo (the second reason being attachment to the past).
Looking at life without those “what ifs” can be extremely liberating and discarding the items in question can give your life a positive boost. The time and energy you spent worrying can and should be used more wisely. Time to change perspective!
Were any of these tips helpful? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences!