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why is decluttering so hard
26Oct

Why Is Decluttering So Hard? And How To Make It Unhard.

Written by in Cleaning Tips
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Oh why oh why is “decluttering” so hard!? Well…for starters, there are many reasons my child. Got 5-7 minutes? Pull up a seat.

Growing up, aside from wearing white pantyhose I believe were manufactured by North Face – in Alabama – my second biggest stress trigger is thinking about my mom *decluttering* the house. It was a true ordeal. I’d watch her shuffle from room to room. From closets, to cabinets, to under the bed, and over the fridge. Just pulling stuff out.

Once everything was pulled out, everyone could agree – we had a Lot stuff. And it was Everywhere. For days or maybe weeks, my mom wouldn’t look like herself. Her shoulders were rounder. Eye’s dimmer. And definitely redder. Yeh, the face of overwhelm ain’t pretty.

The piles of stuff would sit. And I would see her sit. At one pile today. Another tomorrow. And I think bags would be filled. But they may as well have been filled with air. Because the piles never seemed to shrink.

Even though there were some good intentions and the motivation was there to get decluttered, the clutter just kinda went back to where it came from. We would clean up the mess. After a while. Stuff clutter back into whatever dark corner it came from and everyone would move on. Clean surfaces. Hooray!

I’m all grown up now. Got kids. A business – or two. Plenty of headaches just like you. And I totally get what happened to my mom. It’s sooooooo clear…

👉 No one taught you how to declutter a home. And boom goes the enlightening dynamite!

You know you need to get rid of stuff. So you just kinda jump in there. Thinking it can be done this weekend. So you make a mess. Get overwhelmed. And uhhh, yeh. You get deflated. Everyone else in the house gets annoyed. And the clutter get’s moved around. But never leaves.

Orrrrrr maybe you know you need to get rid of some stuff. But you don’t know where to start so you you just don’t. I mean, you intend to start. But procrastination is something else am I right?

So I get it. All this sounds pretty bad. But you’ll be happy to know I would not have taken the time to write this post if that was the end of it.

Now I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a problem throwing away anything. It’s almost compulsive for me. And a little scary. I’m definitely not a minimalist. It’s just when it’s time to declutter, I’m the gal that pretty much says, everything goes without batting an eye. Where’d this come from? Maybe it’s the Virgo/Libra in me. Eh.

However, I’ve spent a considerable bit of my childhood watching my mother struggle to figure out how to declutter. And I’ve spent years helping my mom declutter. Without destroying every inch of the house. She still likes to make a bit of a mess when she declutters. But she actually declutters now. She get’s rid of stuff. It’s not a crippling ordeal they way it once was in the past. And that’s the thing. She’s gotten wayyyyyyyyy better.

Decluttering is not a one-time thing. It’s a skill you need to learn. Just like walking. Biking. Reading. Because you’re going to have to do it all the time. You need to get good at it. And the more you do it. The better you’ll get.

You can definitely get rid of your stuff too. If you were able to put that brain of yours to use and find this article on the internet, you can declutter my friend.

So let’s explore 5 reasons why decluttering may be hard for you. And then, I’ll show you simple ways to truly make decluttering more simplified & totally doable. Tips anyone can use regardless of why you struggle to declutter.

Believe it or not, decluttering can actually be easy, breezy & beautifully therapeutic if you approach it the right way.  So let’s get to it.

Part A: Why is decluttering so hard?  

  1.  Unrealistic decluttering goals

Dude, decluttering your whole house in a weekend is about as doable as shredding major fat in 2 days.  It ain’t happenin.  Unless you live in a tiny house AND declutter religiously.  Simply getting into the habit of decluttering an hour every week will take you further than you think.

  1. Everyone else in the house is the problem

Ah, the blame game.  Unfortunately, the blamer never wins.  So if you’re stressing everyone else out in the house about their stuff, you’re wasting energy you could be spending on – get this – decluttering your own stuff.   

  1. You haven’t stopped the flow of clutter

If the main type of clutter you see around the house is paper & toys.  Getting rid of the paper & toys is a start.  But if you don’t have a plan to keep paper & toys at bay, you’ll soon start to feel as if you aren’t making progress.   Stop the flow and you’ll win at this decluttering thing. 

  1. Decluttering and decorating debacle

If you’re trying to declutter & channel your inner Joanna Gaines at the same time,  you’re doomed. Focus.  Pick a space.  Declutter.  Then move on to the next space.  Your only mission in life is to get rid of all the stuff.  Decorate your heart out after you finish decluttering.

  1. It’s more than just *stuff* to you

I get it.  It’s your past.  It’s money spent.  It’s special.  You might need it some day.  The list goes on & on. However, the only antidote to your *reasons* for holding on to *stuff* is cold, hard logic.  

If you lost everything in a fire today, but the insurance company could create an exact replica of your current house & all the stuff in it would you like that?  

If you still have all this stuff 10-years from now, will you feel good?  If not, take a deep breath.  Sure it’s hard to get rid of your stuff.  But keeping isn’t necessarily making you feel good either.

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Part B. Discover how to get rid of everything once & for all with 2 mindset shifts.

Mindset Shift #1 | Who wears the pants in the relationship – you or your stuff? 🤔

You see your stuff as part of your identity.  This is totally human and 100% natural.  But when you can’t seem to get rid of clutter, you could have a power issue.  

It’s one thing to see your stuff as part of your identity – bury me with my Harry Potter protein shake bottle please.  Awww.  That can be cute.  

But it’s another to let your stuff own you.  I cannot live without my Harry Potter protein shake bottlesssss.  All 37 of them.  Uhhh Dr. Phil?  You busy???

So I don’t know about you but  I love seeing wild animals.  Out in the wild.  Doing things that wild animals do.  Like walking.  Eating.  And looking at me look at them and then running away as if I’m some kind of creeper.  Wild stuff am I right?  But I think what really makes watching an animal so captivating is that they are truly free.   Just being the best damn deer they can be lol.   

So now, let’s look at you.  The domesticated human reading this.  You’re the most complex, yet majestic creature on this planet.  Just so you know, the deer watch you when you’re not looking.  They say you’re soo adorable the way you guzzle your coffee.  

You have a soul.  You have a purpose.  And instead of walking in the power you were born with, you let a hodgepodge group of mugs and harry potter protein shake bottles steal all your cabinet space. 🤯  C’mon.  

Ask yourself this:

  1. Who wears the pants in your relationship with stuff/life/the universe?  Does your stuff own you?  Or do you own stuff?
  1. Have you taken ownership of your life and everything you see in it?  The good.  The bad.  The ugly.  

If you wear the proverbial pants and have taken ownership of your life, you’ll be able to blast through your clutter woes a whole lot quicker than you think my little human friend.  

If you’re not quite owning things just yet, no worries.  Now you know where you should start. Do the inner work first and the outer work (like getting rid of stuff you don’t actually want foreal, foreal) will be a piece of ice cream cake.  

Mindset Shift #2 | Are you here?   🤔

Seemingly weighted jelly rolls hug your waistline after religiously eating bowls and bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream every evening, month after month, without a single 15-minute session of foot to pavement action every once in a while to battle the muffin top turning into an outright booty-do.  Surprised that your clothes don’t fit right?  If you are, that’s a sign you haven’t been present in your life.  

And don’t act like you don’t what a booty-do is either.  Your stomach sticks out more than your booty-do.   If this is offensive, do not let your kids ride the bus to school.   

Anyway. like stubborn jelly rolls, an obnoxious amount of clutter is the price we pay for filling/stuffing/packing spaces with more.  And more.  And more.  Over weeks.  Months.  And years.  Without ever deliberately stopping.  And doing something to counter the stream of stuff/food/paper/furniture/crap that’s constantly pouring into your home by sending an equal amount right back out the door. 

Here are 3-ideas to help you become more *present* AND slow the river of clutter flooding your home: 

Do a hardcore fast from stuff for 30-days.  No impulse shopping. No 1-click Amazon purchases.  You can buy essentials of course – think bread, fish, water, toothpaste.  Random list?  Yes.  But I’m fairly certain that’s all you need to survive for 30-days.  

Practice being your own best frenemy.  Ask yourself very tough questions on a regular basis like hey, what the heck is that bedazzle kit from 08’ still doing here?   That thing is so bedusty. (I just couldn’t resist lol)  You need to get into the habit of actually seeing what’s around you, what doesn’t belong, and taking action immediately.

Stop thinking about decluttering & instead, think about your front door. It’s the point of no return.  So before you bring another bag or Amazon box into your house, stop at the front door and ask yourself if you should really be bringing (blank) into  your home?  Considering, you want to become clutter free. 

5 Reasons Why Decluttering Is Hard – Summary: 

  1. Unrealistic goals
  2. Everyone else is the problem
  3. You haven’t stopped the flow of clutter
  4. You’re decluttering AND decorating at the same time
  5. Your emotions cloud your judgement

Ask yourself: 

Does your stuff own you? 🤔

Ready to declutter your home? The painless way?

Want to declutter the mess-free way?  The Mini Declutter Kit has everything you need to declutter without destroying your home.  From signs that help you stay organized during decluttering projects to a step-by-step guide that’ll help you think through which items get the boot and which ones stay, this kit will make you look like a decluttering pro.  Grab the Mini Declutter Kit today!

Other posts about decluttering you may like:

How to Declutter Your House Without Making a Mess

Help! My House Is Cluttered & I Don’t Know Where To Start!

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