Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Decluttering an Emotional Ride

Spring is right around the corner. This is the perfect time to declutter your home. The hardest thing about sorting and cleaning my home is deciding what to let go of. Parting with my stuff becomes an emotional ride for me. What if I need it someday? What if I am sorry or sad without it? Who do I know that needs this? I can’t just throw it out it is a perfectly good something. When I found this article by Betty Fellows about the emotions of decluttering I was surprised. Are there other people who have to force their selves to get rid of the stuff they do not use? Are there others besides me who have emotional turmoil over the sorting and letting go of their stuff? I have nightmares of turning into a star on the new reality show “the Hoarders” so I force myself to get rid of as much as I can. I found this article helpful and I hope you will too.

So you have decided to declutter your home – good for you! It is important to recognize that your emotions may vary. Some items could make you happy or sad to be parting with. Some items may cause guilt, and some items may bring back sentimental feelings. Let’s have a look at the type of emotions you can expect, and how you can cope with those emotions.

Paper Products

Paper items build faster than almost any other items. You need to be merciless when you are cleaning up these items. Toss the junk mail right into the recycling. Decide how many days/weeks of papers you want to keep and out with the rest. If where you live offers recycling then getting rid of them is a much easier task. Feeling relief is common when discarding newspapers and other paper products you no longer need.

Books and magazines are paper items too, but many find it difficult to part with these items. Magazines are often hung onto for an article or two. Why not remove the articles from the magazines and store them safely in a binder. That way you can get rid of all those old magazines.

Getting rid of books can create anxiety, especially if you love to read. Parting with books can be difficult. Keeping those you have not read is fine, but those that you are done with need to be parted with. Giving them to a charity or a literacy group can relieve some of the burden and create happiness for others. That can help you feel better about the entire experience.

Sentimental Items

There is nothing wrong with being sentimental and keeping things that are sentimental to you. But you cannot keep every single item that you have sentimental feelings to. Perhaps you have a cherished baby blanket that is fine to keep. However, you cannot keep all of your baby clothes. Choose a couple of pieces and give the rest to someone who can use them.

Photos are an excellent example of a sentimental item that can get out of control. Most of us take hundreds of photos often of the same thing or nearly the same pose. Choose the best, then either put them in photo albums or start scrapbooking. Get rid of all the excess.


Every gift you receive will not be something you want or can use, and you do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings so we accept these gifts and then keep them, often in their original packaging, not knowing what to do with them and feeling guilty at the idea of getting rid of them.

Toss your guilt aside. Instead, find a new home for these unwanted items, whether that means donating them to a charity or re-gifting them, it does not matter, just make sure you move them on without feelings of guilt.

Broken Items

How big is your pile of broken items that you have been meaning to fix because you have some type of emotional attachment to the item? You are not alone, but the problem is almost always these items simply take up space and never do get fixed. The second part of the reality is that many times there is really no reason to be hanging onto them like their your best friend. Most of these items can often be easily replaced.

You will get much more joy out of going shopping for replacement items than hanging onto the broken ones.


It is amazing how often fear creeps into the equation. Many times we replace an existing item but then are too scared to part with the original one because we play the “what if” game in our head. “What if we do not like the new one as much,” “What if the new one does not work as well,” “What if…” well you get the idea.

Do not let fear motivate you when it comes to decluttering your home. Very few items are so rare that they cannot be replaced at a later date.

Try to keep your emotions out of your declutter project instead rely on your logic to make the right choices.

For a FREE email course on how to declutter you home http://reducingcluttersecrets.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Betty_J_Fellows


  1. Great post! I'm constantly having to think about decluttering now that we have kids - it seems like we have so much more of everything... toys, paper, you name it! I think it's great to try and foresee emotions you'll encounter along the way, because those could serve as stumbling blocks to prevent you from finishing your task at hand.

  2. Thanks Christi, I am trying to find you to follow.

  3. My guilt comes from throwing away things that belong to my many dead relatives. I'm 41, my dad died when I was 23 yrs and his mom died when he was 2 years. I have my dads moms trunk filled with her memories and dads baby stuff
    I have every old photos dating back generations. This is just the beginning of the things I have guilt.
    I want to sell my house and get rid of all my belongings and travel. How do I do this without guilt

  4. Thanks Natalie. I too am a sentimental hoarder. I am slowly changing. I would scan to my computer all of the pictures so they are preserved onto a disc. I am doing this with my mom and dad's photos. This way all of the family can have copies.I believe that your relatives would want you to travel and enjoy your life. I even think they would feel bad if their things were holding you back.