When I moved to Madrid, a city where it rains around 63 days a year, from Dublin where it rains 273 a year, I brought with me an array of coats that anyone would be proud of….. in Ireland. But I was now living in Spain. And what happened to all those coats? They gathered dust in my storage room keeping them for a “rainy day”.
Decluttering is not a case of asking: why do we keep too much stuff? It is a case of asking: why do we think there is going to be a rainy day?
Having and keeping clutter is a mental and emotional issue and sometimes we have to overcome that before we even think of moving on to the process of decluttering.
In this blog, I am going to give you tips on stepping over the emotional hurdles of having sentimental attachments to things.
Your Scarcity Mindset – your fear that you don´t have enough.
Did you know most of us fail to achieve our dreams because of self-sabotage and negative thinking? The same goes with our home and our stuff. Most of us have great intentions, we buy the boxes and we make time to declutter. But when it comes to the crunch of actually throwing away, we think of the worst and we ask questions like:
“ What if I need this in a month?” or “I don´t know where to buy another” ..“This was expensive, it’s a waste to donate it”
When it comes to clutter, thoughts of what you should do with things need to take a back seat.
Life itself is already complicated, hard and busy without worrying: “what happens if..…” or saying to ourselves: “I should do this….”. Having this mindset is emotionally exhausting and it’s not fun holding on to so much excess in our lives, cleaning it, relocating it around our homes, trying to sell it, and then feeling sad and defeated when no one else wants it. At times it can even hurt our relationships within the home.
So what can you do?
How you can be ruthless when decluttering– remind yourself of these things:
We can borrow or buy a new one if we really needed to.
Our memories are not in our things.
You have enough.
If we sell something it can help pay off debt.
If we remove things we will have more space for the things that we really love/need/use.
Simplifying your home will be a huge relief, it will give you freedom leaving you with the things you really love.
I organized my whole home in 15 minutes slots during the lockdown in 2020 – because I was living in complete chaos and felt terrible stress with all my stuff. Skip back to this BLOG to see how you can organize spaces in 15 minutes.
But if you struggle with even getting started, then start with 5 minutes. There is so much positive power that can be gained in a 5 minute declutter. So walk around your home with two bags in your hand. One for trash and another for donating. Go into each room and make sure you pick up something for each bag. An old top or a broken toy. The shampoo you bought and didn´t like and is still taking up space in your bathroom – put it in the trash bag. Once you´re done completely remove these bags from your home, do not let them sit around for days.
What to do with difficult items when decluttering.
If you have read until here, most likely you are thinking something like this:
“There is definitely no way I will throw out x….”
In my case, I have kept a bracelet I have had since I was 9 and a good few other things from my childhood. There will always be things that you want to keep, and I understand that. When I work with clients I always create a memory box to hold items that they simply can´t let go of.
This is a picture of my memory box!
But the key here is to first look at the space you have to actually keep these things. If you are living in a small one-bedroom apartment and you only really have space for a shoebox of memories, then fill the shoebox with items and not a big industrial-sized box that will take up a lot of space. Look at the space you have then pick a memory box for that space. After that the next step is to choose the things you simply cannot throw out.
It’s not the other way round. So often we think we are living in large spaces and we can keep a lot of things. It’s not like this. Look at the space you have first and foremost.
My final tip – Always choose SPACE over STUFF and learn to MAINTAIN it.
Nothing happens overnight, the key is to make it a habit to continually declutter. You can do this by fixing the habit of decluttering onto another thing that you do. For example, Do you have a specific day when your rubbish gets collected? Try this, when you leave your garbage out find something broken or old to throw with it. Do you drive or walk past your donation point at a particular time of the week? Learn to take a bag of clothes or items you can donate that same day.
Do you make a cup of coffee or tea in your kitchen? While the kettle boils work at decluttering a small space in 1 minute every time you make tea.