Let me begin by asking something…. Why is decluttering so daunting? After all, it is, in its skeletal form, discarding things that are of no use now or in the immediate future and housing only the essentials, which serve a purpose or give us joy.
And we all can agree that the benefits of decluttering far outweigh the physical labor involved.
Why, then, do we dread the whole process? Why do we keep postponing it so much that it snowballs into a big mess we are fearful of approaching and resort to hiding it, relegating it to some dark corner and avoiding it all together…? Surely there is more to this!
That is where the mental block comes up. We, humans, are designed in a way we live in our minds, sometimes more than we should. And although it is good to have this faculty, sometimes it gets in the way of when we actually need to get things done.
So here’s how to overcome a mental block when cleaning and decluttering including some important questions to ask yourself.
I will not be touching upon, in this article, the hacks and tips, and tricks involved in decluttering. I believe that is best left to the professionals. They are the ones to turn to if you want to overhaul your space beyond the mundane, into something you truly enjoy and they provide an independent perspective.
But this article will, hopefully, help you make easier choices when dealing with the emotional and mental aspects of decluttering.
Changing mindset at the source: This is something we need to cultivate over time, but this is what has the maximum potential.
It is heartening to see minimalism has gained mainstream recognition, in recent years. While previous decades were all about consumerism, the new generation has seen the pitfalls of hoarding so much and has realized that indeed less is more, at least in the case of physical commodities. So, every time you make a purchase, ask yourself if you really need it and definitely weigh in the storage factor instead of the mindset “Oh it’s just a few bucks, might as well buy now and maybe use sometime later”.
Dealing with guilt: Many of us have harbored this emotion for a long time. Often time, as women, we make purchases on impulse. And some of these can be high ticket items as well.
And then, if not used soon, it gets difficult to dispose of them because of the sunk cost. We feel guilty for wasting money on the item in the first place and can’t bring ourselves to dispose of an unused item.
In case you are dealing with this emotion, there are many platforms to recover at least some of the sunk money (if donating is not the best option). Sites like Poshmark, Thread up, Mercari or eBay to name a few, are good places where you can find buyers who might appreciate your stuff better and you get paid, taking out that sting of losing money, if only partially!
The scarcity mindset: Out of the many reasons for hoarding things, this one trumps it all: “I am going to keep this because someday I am going to need this.” We think on these lines, especially when storing petty items.
While in some cases it is a good idea to store things for a later time, we need to realize that there is a time limit for this.
And when we start doing this on a regular basis, while mounting a heap of unused items, we are unwittingly giving rise to a scarcity mindset. We are assuming that we will not have enough to go around when we really need something. Instead, we should be asking ourselves if the hoarding and storage cost is really worth it? And if in the future we need things, we will be able to have enough resources at our disposal. We need to have an abundance mindset. We should be self-assured of the kind of life we are living; that things will come our way as and when we need it.
Sentimental items: This is the toughest to deal with. Sentimental items, closely followed by papers, are the biggest (almost 26%) clutter target, according to a survey. The scary part is these tend to increase the share of clutter as we grow older (read kids art and craft, outgrown clothes, etc). How do we then discard items like these which may not be “sparking joy” anymore, so as to speak?
The most efficient way to deal with this is to hire a professional organizer. They will help you evaluate what do you really need to keep and what not from an independent perspective. Sometimes that is all that is needed.
Other than that, there is always the option to pass on the heirloom, digitalize memories where possible or repurpose them into something display-worthy.
So here’s to clearing the mental blocks to declutter so that it makes way for increased mental peace and overall stability. Do check out our amazing partners here at Dispatch moms.
They are awesome Home Organizers, (It’s Just Stuff); Professional designers and Productivity Specialist, The Organized Flamingo; and Holistic Interior Designer Bailey Catherine Interiors, who do an awesome job at helping you make your home a place you truly love and cherish, even more.
This blog is the second of 2 part series on spring cleaning and decluttering.