Why Don’t You Just Let Go of the Clutter?

Do you love your clutter?

I know that may sound like a silly question, but I want you to be honest with yourself. The majority of people I meet don’t really understand how things got to the point where they are surrounded by piles in their homes and lives. I know that may sound like a silly question, but I want you to be honest with yourself. I believe getting organized requires first understanding the “why” of clutter, then getting rid of it.  

Following are four reasons why we don’t let go:

Hoarding- You have seen the shows and read the articles.  Hoarding is a serious disorder suffered by many. This would require an in-depth discussion with professionals who specialize in hoarding disorders.  I want to talk about those on the other end of the spectrum like myself.

Growing up I would see my mother save things.  One of the items she would save was the margarine containers. They always came in handy to store items.  Fast forward a few years when I became an adult, I started doing the same thing until I realized I had a cabinet full of containers. I had accumulated too many and it was time for me to deal with them.

My solution was simply to no longer purchase margarine in containers only in stick form so I would have nothing to save.  Most recently that has become easier now that I use butter in stick form.  Changing my choices helped me reduce the clutter in my life. What choice can you make to do the same

Delay Decisions-This happens when you decide not to open the mail, read the newspaper or take items out of the bag when you go shopping.  The results are piles of mail, newspapers, and bags with stuff throughout your home just waiting for the next action. The solution is to discipline yourself to take the next action to gain control over those piles.

Don’t let clutter overwhelm you.

One client decided that she was never going to be too busy to break those old habits of dropping everything by the front door.  She now places mail in her family’s mail tray.  This has helped her eliminate those piles of unopened mailed throughout her home and she feels more in control of her life She has also disciplined herself to place the items from her shopping trips in the room they belonged, take them out of the bag and give herself until the end of the day to put them away. No more piles of bags full of household supplies by the door. 

Perfectionism- This can stop some people in their tracks, the need to have everything perfect.  This usually leads to stuff not getting done because if it can’t be done perfectly by them, then no one else will be able to do it.  Other times there is this thought that there is a perfect system that has to be created to organize items or space and there is none.  Each system is customized to meet the needs of the individual or family.

In my own life, I have had several systems to organize my clothes.  I have had wall closets, walk-in closets and now I have a closet that is ¼ the size that I am used to.  I am making it work.  I downsized my wardrobe and added another bar to maximize that closet space.  I know this will not be my last closet system but for now, it works well for my current needs and allows me to find things the first time I look. 

Sentimental –This is the kind of clutter that is closely tied to our emotions.  These items could be cards, letters, toys, and jewelry.  Recently on a live strategy session with my Facebook Group, I discovered several members, like myself, had jewelry that belonged to their mother and was very difficult to part with.  I shared with them my struggles as well as some possible solutions, which were repurposing the jewelry and using it to decorate a frame.  

I shared how I kept several pieces to wear, will give several pieces to a friend, and those hard to part with pieces like the clip-on earrings that I can’t wear, will be used to decorate a frame.  Other members of the group liked the idea so much that we will be getting together soon to decorate frames. That is one solution of many to downsize the sentimental items.

Now that I have shared why we hold onto stuff. Determine your reasons for refusing to let go. Decide to let go of something that you no longer love and pass it on to someone who will.

Janet M. Taylor is a professional organizer, speaker, podcast host, and producer with over 27 years of experience helping people get organized.  If you are ready to get your life totally organized visit her website at www.janetmtaylor.com


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