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Do you find it hard to let go of clutter in your home, even though you know it would be beneficial to do so? Holding onto sentimental items is one of the primary reasons people struggle to create a clutter-free environment.
While it's okay to keep items that hold sentimental value, it can become problematic when you start hoarding them and find it hard to let go of things you don't need or use.
In this blog post, we will summarise why it can be challenging to eliminate clutter, including sentimental items, and provide tips on overcoming the guilt and anxiety that may come with decluttering your home.
Reasons You Find it Hard to Let Go of Clutter in Your Home
Below is a list of reasons why you might be struggling to let go of clutter:
One of the most prevalent reasons you might be holding onto clutter is that it has sentimental value. Attaching memories and emotions to objects that remind you of memorable moments in your life could make it hard to let go of these items.
For example, you might have a box of old letters and photos that bring back memories of a past relationship or a loved one who has passed away. Understandably, you might feel attached to such sentimental items, but they could also take up a lot of space and cause unnecessary clutter in your home.
You might feel guilty about getting rid of items, especially if they were given to you as gifts or passed down through generations. If you remove these items, you may feel like you are disrespecting your family members or loved ones.
However, it's important to remember that it's okay to let go of things that don't have a purpose in your life. You could honour the memory of a loved one in other ways, such as by creating a photo album or dedicating a particular space in your home.
Sometimes you might also feel you don't want to remove some items from your home because you think you are wasting money. You might have spent a lot of money buying the items and don't want to waste money. To avoid feeling guilty, remember that the money is already spent, and holding onto things you no longer need will not help you return your money.
For some people, holding onto clutter is not just a preference but a symptom of a mental health disorder called hoarding syndrome. A hoarding disorder can lead to overwhelming clutter, making it hard to function in a living space. If you feel you may have hoarding tendencies, it's vital to seek professional help to address these issues.
Decluttering requires decision-making, which can be mentally exhausting and overwhelming. Determining which items to keep, donate, or throw away can be challenging. You may worry that you will regret getting rid of something later or that you may need it in the future. You may also fear that you will spend money buying the same item.
If you make this reason guide you when decluttering, you won't be able to remove any item from your home, and your space will be full of things you don't need. To overcome this feeling, consider the amount of time you require them. If you cannot figure out any time you need them, you should let them go.
Having a lot of stuff makes you feel satisfied
Sometimes you might find it hard to declutter your space because having many items makes you feel secure and safe. This often involves the feeling that having a lot of stuff is a sign of wealth and gives you satisfaction in your life. Consequently, you think that when you declutter, you will not have enough to give in to the scarcity mindset.
Think that a clutter-free space is boring
Many people think that a clutter-free home is bland or uninviting. If you have this extreme view of minimalism, you might also find it hard to let go of clutter. To overcome this problem, it's good to know that simplifying and decluttering does not mean you get rid of all your stuff. It also doesn't mean you live in an empty space with no personality.
It is good to know that a house filled with clutter will not add more personality or happiness to your home and can lead to more stress.
Don't know what to do with the items you are decluttering
If you are unsure of what to do with the stuff you remove, you may find it hard to get rid of clutter from your space. You may wonder where you will take the clutter, thus becoming hesitant to declutter your space. The best method to overcome this is to plan what to do with the items in advance.
Some of your options include donating, selling, or disposing of them. The first option should be to recycle or throw away damaged items beyond repair. The other option is to donate items that are still usable and in good condition.
How to Overcome Your Struggles with Clutter
Assessing the sentimental value of each item
When decluttering your home, take the time to assess the sentimental value of each item. Ask yourself if the item truly brings joy and happiness or is just taking up space. Consider taking photos of sentimental items before letting them go so you can still cherish the memory without keeping the physical object.
Reframing the meaning of sentimental value
You can reframe the meaning of sentimental value by realising that your memories and emotions are not attached to the object itself but rather the experiences and people associated with them. For instance, if you have a collection of souvenirs from a trip, you can focus on the memories of the journey itself rather than the physical items.
Seeking professional help
For individuals struggling with hoarding syndrome or other mental health issues, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or professional organiser to provide guidance and support. Decluttering can be overwhelming even for those without underlying mental health issues, and seeking professional services can help ease the burden.
Creating a system
When decluttering your home, create a system that works for you. This may include designating specific areas for items that need to be sorted, setting goals, and creating a timeline.
For example, you might want to start with decluttering one room at a time and set a goal to complete the process within a week or a month. Having a clear plan and timeline in place can make the decluttering process less overwhelming and more manageable.
Donating or selling
If you struggle to let go of items in decent condition, consider donating or selling them. Many organisations in Australia accept donations of clothes, furniture, and other household items.
You can also sell items online or in person at a garage sale or consignment shop. Not only will you be clearing out clutter, but you can also feel good about giving back to your community or earning some extra money.
Taking it one step at a time
Decluttering your home is a process; taking it one step at a time is essential. You don't have to declutter your entire home in one day or even one week. Start small and work on one area at a time.
Once you have completed one area, move on to the next. Celebrate small victories and take breaks when you need them. Remember, being kind to yourself is essential, and recognising that decluttering can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Need Expert Help Letting Go of Clutter?
Decluttering your home is not easy, especially if you struggle with sentimental value, guilt, decision-making, or other mental health issues. However, by applying the tips in this article, you could overcome these struggles and achieve a clutter-free home.
Remember, it's essential to be patient with yourself and to recognise that decluttering is a process that takes time and effort. If you are struggling to declutter your home on your own, don't hesitate to seek professional services to help you through the process.
With the right amount of patience, tools, and support, you can achieve a clutter-free home and feel more relaxed and at peace in your living space.