I used to live in a room full of memories. It was a dusty crowded room but it was full of things that were valuable to me, and only me.
My little room held treasures I couldn’t wait to tell my friends all about and when I did, they didn’t care.
But I was afraid to let go of any of it. And more kept coming and I kept finding places to put it all. Until there were no places left. Then I had to face my fear and start decluttering.
You may also be afraid and overwhelmed by clutter in your home but I can help you because I have been there.
If you are overwhelmed by clutter and fear the decluttering process you are not alone.
Every day people read books and blogs to help them declutter. They don’t do this because they don’t know how to physically declutter. They do this because decluttering is an emotional process and they don’t know where to start decluttering when overwhelmed and afraid.
Is that how you feel? Are you afraid of decluttering? It’s time to name your fear, face your fear, and overcome your fear so that you can finally learn how to declutter your home without it! You can even have fun decluttering!
Are You Overwhelmed by Clutter and Afraid to Start?
A lot of people fear decluttering because they just don’t know where to start. They have a house full of stuff and the prospect of going through everything evokes a picture in their mind of their house in a hurricane, all the junk brought out and scattered, in a great big overwhelming mess. If you are afraid to declutter your home for this reason you may say to yourself; “It’s easier to just leave everything the way it is.”
But is it really easier? Does it feel easy to dig through your drawers looking for your favorite shirt only to settle for something that is too tight and ugly? Does it feel easy to lose your keys and search for them for half an hour every morning? Is it really easy to have to open up a million storage bins just to find your tent when you want to go camping?
Of course not! Life in a cluttered house is not easy. It is stressful, time-consuming, and ultimately suffocating. The sheer overwhelm of constantly searching for things will keep you living your life!
When you are overwhelmed by clutter do this:
So if you are afraid to declutter your home because you don’t know how to start decluttering what can you do? Simply put, do not create a tornado. I know that Marie Kondo says you have to take EVERYTHING in each category out and look at and touch it. But I’m here to tell you, you can declutter in more bite-sized portions.
Instead of looking through all your clothes at once, look at all your shirts. Instead of decluttering your entire kitchen, just declutter your utensils. Don’t create an overwhelming mess. Slow and steady wins the race so if you feel overwhelmed by clutter and the project of decluttering take it one drawer, one cabinet, one storage tub at a time. You can step by step declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by Clutter and Sentimental Ties?
Almost everyone I talk to has a hard time decluttering things because of the emotional attachments they have to items. The hardest things to get rid of seem to be things that belonged to their children when they were small or things that belonged to their parents who have passed. Why do we fear decluttering things like this?
It’s interesting to note that most of the things people are emotionally attached to actually belonged to other people. Most people aren’t nearly as sentimental about their old clothes as they are about their children’s clothes. No one I have talked to is as worried about keeping their coffee mugs as they are about letting go of gramma’s china.
We keep these kinds of things because we love the people they represent to us. We love the memories we made with those people and we want to freeze them in time, like Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, we have personified the cup as our grandmother giving us tea. When we see our child’s artwork or their little romper we imagine them as they were in those halcyon childhood days. It’s beautiful.
But it’s also debilitating. If you keep everything that holds a memory your home will soon be filled to the brim. It will make moving hard and staying harder because cleaning and organizing your home will take constant effort. We simply cannot keep things like we keep memories.
I learned this finally the day we talked to the people who were to buy my childhood home and just like in the movies all my memories played before my eyes and they welled up with tears while the buyers just looked at a blank slate in which their memories could be made. My house wouldn’t miss me but I would miss it. It has belonged to the new owners for over 5 years now and they have made memories in it but it did not erase my memories. My memories stay in my mind and heart.
If you are emotional about clutter do this:
So what can you do to declutter sentimental items in a way that doesn’t hurt your heart? How can you hold your memories but not tie yourself down with a lifetime’s worth of possessions that aren’t yours?
You don’t have to keep things to keep memories. Your mementos from the past, your children’s clothing, your gramma’s china, your old books, and gifts from loved ones do not keep your memories. Your mind and heart do that. That’s why your mind and heart can give you permission to let go of the physical representations of the beautiful memories you will always have.
You don’t have to get rid of everything. Pick the best of the best of the things that hold memories. Take them out of storage and display them somewhere you will see, or even better, use them every day. Give those memories the honor they deserve. But let go of most of the stuff. It is actually just stuff.
Are You Overwhelmed by Clutter & Feeling Wasteful?
I might need it later. It’s in perfectly good condition. I spent good money on that. I don’t want to just throw it away. It’s broken but I can fix it. Maybe my kids will want it for their future home.
There is a constant tug and pull between being frugal, practical, and responsible or drowning in junk. I love the earth and I don’t like throwing money down the drain either. Still, you can’t keep everything, even if it’s worth something, to someone.
If you are feeling wasteful do this…
If you feel that you might need something later keep it! But be honest with yourself. Have you needed this item in the last year?
If not, under what scenario will you need it? Say it out loud.
If it’s something like, “If there is an alien takeover and the only thing that will save us is playing this random song from this old CD and playing this movie on a VHS player while making soup in the broken microwave.” then you need to get rid of it!
If that still doesn’t work ask yourself, if I didn’t have this what would I use instead? Often you will see that you really won’t need that thing later.
Remember that if you don’t let go you will continue to be overwhelmed by clutter. Instead of keeping this stuff let it go. Don’t let it cripple you.
But it was expensive…
What if you spent a lot of money on it? What if it was an investment purchase that you saved for and were so excited to buy?
I think this perfectly describes my parent’s very nice Nikon camera. They were very very excited to invest in it and they loved using it. Fast forward 20 years and they now capture all their memories with their iPhones. That beautiful investment Nikon was just sitting in a box in the garage collecting dust. Even if they decided to use it again, where would they buy film, or develop it for that matter?
I’m happy to say, they sold it to a camera enthusiast via Facebook Marketplace. They didn’t get the money they originally spent back but they got something. And they haven’t thought about that camera since.
You don’t have to be wasteful!
If you feel wasteful getting rid of things you no longer use, don’t throw them away. Find someone who wants them by selling them on Facebook Marketplace. Donate them to a thrift shop or even an antique or specialty store.
Best of all, if you feel wasteful, let that inform your future purchasing decisions. Remember that everything you buy will at some point live past it’s usefulness and don’t buy stuff you don’t need. That’s how you can stop filling the landfills.
You Don’t Have to Be Afraid or Overwhelmed by Clutter ANYMORE!
We can make endless excuses to avoid decluttering. We can become inventors, enthusiasts, and historians in our endeavor to keep everything and let go of nothing. But that does not lead to joy. It leads to stress and overwhelm.
Stop letting your fears hold you back. Don’t let your stuff weigh you down. Decluttering and minimalism can free you up for the things you really want to to do! You don’t need to be overwhelmed by clutter anymore. I can help you get past all your fears and finally declutter your house in a way that makes it useful and perfect for you and the life you want to live!
That’s why I created the Fearless Decluttering E-Book and Printable pack! It’s a program specifically designed to take you through the decluttering process in a way that is not overwhelming or emotionally taxing.
It will help you take steps to declutter your home in 3 separate phases that build your decluttering muscles. In this way you will never be overwhelmed by clutter and you won’t have to get rid of anything before you are ready to. It will also help you know how to get rid of your stuff, and how to make a little extra cash in the process.