The new year represents a fresh start and for many people, that means getting organized and getting rid of unwanted stuff. However, trying to declutter your home can be tough for a multitude of reasons. Today we’re going to cover the top five reasons it can be difficult to declutter and what you can do to help let it go.
1. Your stuff has sentimental value.
There are many reasons an item can have sentimental value. A mug purchased from your favorite vacation spot, a high school sports t-shirt, a piece of grandmother’s jewelry, or a teddy bear won on a first date night with your significant other. Regardless of the reason, attaching sentimental value to an item can make it hard to part with.
If this is the case, ask yourself if you didn’t have the item would you still remember the event or the person that gave it to you. If you can easily answer yes, then it’s okay to donate that item. Give someone else an opportunity to love it as much as you once did.
If you’re worried you might not remember the event as much, snap a photo of the item and write down a few memories alongside the photo. That way it’s not taking up space in your home and you’ll have a place to keep memories in a keepsake album.
2. You might need that item again in the future.
This excuse is common, especially when merging two households together. All of a sudden, you have two toasters and two coffee makers. We create excuses to keep these extra items just in case something happens to the first one. Let’s be honest though, the second coffee maker is just collecting dust in a cabinet that could serve a better purpose. There’s a difference between needing something and possibly needing something.
To help, ask yourself when the last time you used that item. If it’s been a year or longer, it’s time to let it go. Donating it gives the item a new life and helps promote a reduce, reuse, recycle mentality.
What happens if you do need that item again in the future? Ask a friend or family member if they have an extra (you were just holding on to two, maybe they are too) or repurchase it. Maybe there’s a new model out with more features or to keep expenses down, visit your local Goodwill.
3. You feel guilty because the item was a gift from a loved one.
Guilt can play a huge role in our struggle to declutter our homes. It can be difficult to separate the love for the person and their gift.
Remember, the intention of the gift giver was to provide a token of affection not to burden you with items you don’t want or need. If it will just take up space and collect dust, it’s okay to return it, re-gift it, or donate it to someone who will really appreciate the item.
4. Your hopes are dreams are attached to these items.
You've been telling yourself that you're going to learn how to knit for the past 2 years. You have all the supplies, just not the time. Maybe you’re keeping those art supplies or calligraphy set and not putting them to use. You still have that pair of jeans from years ago that you would wear, if you lost those extra pounds. That stack of cooking magazines in case you try that dish someday.
Letting go of these items might feel like letting go of your dreams. Be honest with yourself, if you can’t make guitar lessons a priority maybe it’s time to donate that guitar to a future rock star! Letting go of these items will help create possibilities and habits that better suit your lifestyle.
5. You feel guilty because you spent a lot of money on that item.
Have you ever forgot to return an item and it was too late to get your money back? Or an item that was passed on to you that you assume was very expensive. The guilt can add up when you believe there’s a significant amount of money spent on it.
Instead, ask yourself if the value of the item is worth more than what it will mean to free yourself and your space of that item.
Hopefully these tips will help you let go and free up space in your life. Help your items spark joy in the lives of others taking your gently used items to your local Goodwill.