Do you have items at home that you never use yet, for unknown reasons, you still can’t seem to let them go? You swear you will get to it someday, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. This stuff builds up over time and becomes clutter, a widespread problem in many people’s homes.
The first step to tackling this issue is to identify the reasons why it’s so hard for you to let go of the clutter.
Top Reasons For Clutter
You’re Wasting Money
When you think about all the items in your home that you purchased and then used once, if you’re lucky, it’s hard to throw them away. That stuff cost money! You might as well take your hard-earned dollars and dump them in the trash, right?
But think about it… If those things sit in your home unused, taking up valuable space, are you really getting your money’s worth? No, you’re not. Donate, give away or sell the items and add the money to your emergency fund or use it to pay off debt.
You received a present from a loved one or inherited a family heirloom and you dislike it or have no use for it. It’s not your taste, it doesn’t fit your body or it just doesn’t complement your decor. Whatever the reason, you still keep it because the thought of getting rid of it fills you with guilt. You almost feel like you are disrespecting the gift-giver.
Once the gift or heirloom has been given to you, it’s yours. That means you are free to do whatever you like with it. Politely thank the person and move on. Re-gift, donate, sell or return it for store credit.
I’ll Fit Into It Again
Now, I’m never one to bash an optimistic person. If your glass is always half full, then kudos to you! But, there’s optimism and then, there’s realism. Are you going to fit into those clothes that are three sizes too small any time soon?
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Sure, you can shed the pounds eventually but will those clothes even still be in style by then? And, I’m sure you would love to go out shopping and buy new clothes if you lost a ton of weight anyway. So learn to love yourself the way you currently are, while working on a better version of you and let go of the old clothing. Don’t let optimism be one of the reasons that you hold on to junk.
Of course, this also applies to clothes that are too big. If that’s the case for you, congratulations!
Sometimes you develop a new interest or fall in love with the idea of making drastic changes to your life. For instance, you watch Project Runway and you decide, you’re going to start making your own clothes. Or, you take one cooking class and picture yourself as the next big chef.
You instantly run out and buy everything you need to pursue this pastime. The problem is, the interest is usually fleeting or the ideas never quite come to fruition. (Ask me how I know?)
To curb impulsive buying, make a list of all the materials required for your new interest and wait a couple of weeks. If you’re still dying to carry on with the hobby, then go ahead and get the bare minimum needed to begin. Stay away from the pro stuff! Purchase cheaper items meant for beginners until you are certain you will keep up with the new pursuit.
Don’t buy fancy and expensive items when you only have dreams of using them e.g. formal clothing when you have nowhere to wear them. Dig deep and think about your personality. Do you really enjoy cooking? If not, odds are you won’t use that powerful food processor you just saw advertise on TV. Don’t let shiny new items into your home unless you are certain you will frequently use them.
I May Need That Someday
The fear of tossing something and then needing it later stops many of us in our tracks when it comes to decluttering. It’s one of the reasons our homes are filled with things we don’t use.
Place the item you’re unsure about in a plastic bin and store it for six months. After that time has expired and you have not removed anything from the bin, get rid of it.
We all have a box or drawer full of mementos somewhere—old photos, souvenirs from your travels and your children’s baby stuff. These items hold great meaning to us making it hard to let them go. Be honest, how often do even you look at those things?
Scan your photos and store them digitally. That way, they’re not taking up physical space.
Carefully select a few keepsakes and let go of the rest. Make sure you care for and store the items you do choose to keep well. Don’t bury them in a closet or the garage. If you are willing to display them proudly, you can be sure you truly love and want to keep those items.
Belongs To Someone Else
Do you have stuff that you borrowed and never returned? Maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it yet or you don’t think the person wants it back. Either way, ask the owner if they would like their belongings returned and take them back or get rid of them. In the future, return any item you borrow as soon as you are done with it to prevent clutter like this.
Lost And Forgotten
Sometimes, we have so much stuff, we forget about items we own or we lose things. When this happens, we sometimes end up purchasing a replacement or similar item. Now, we have two of the same things at home. When you find the original, decide which, if any, you want to keep and let go of the other one or both.
Once you know the reasons you hold to things, it’s easier to let them go. Be ruthless with your possessions and banish clutter from your home for good!