Barriers to decluttering and how to overcome them

‘What are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?’  – Kahlil Gibran ‘The Prophet’.

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Last week I listed seven good reasons to declutter, however there are lots of excuses that can hold us back from decluttering.  These things can slow us down and make us feel like it is the most difficult task in the world:

  • Decluttering can take a long time – sometimes due to the volume of things to get rid of and sometimes due to indecisiveness over what to get rid of. 
  • Sometimes it is hard to let go of things for sentimental reasons
  • Sometimes it is hard to let go of things because you may worry about needing them down the line
  • It can seem wasteful to get rid of things.
  • We may feel a failure when the room or area we were trying to declutter looks worse than it did before – this is especially the case if you take everything out of a cupboard and can’t work out where things should go.
  • A few days, weeks, months after our decluttering exercise everywhere is a mess again and you may as well not have done it.
If you feel this way about decluttering there are things which can help:
  1. I have mentioned before on my blog that I am a big fan of hypnotherapy and in particular this hypnosis CD – Become Tidy and Organized has helped me on my path to greater organisation.
  2. The Simplify Guy (a blogger I know) has daily ideas for decluttering your life and has a great meditation on decluttering called subtraction an exercise
  3. Start small and continue small – just do a drawer, shelf, small cupboard, surface at a time.  Take breaks between each section you do.  Eventually all your cupboards and drawers and surfaces will be working better
  4. Pay attention to the clutter problems you have on a regular basis and put a plan in place to deal with them.  It may be that things don’t have a proper home e.g. you have toys or paperwork all over the place, or that you are bringing more things into your home on a regular basis than you have space for e.g. waste items that are waiting for the recycling.
Once you have identified that you don’t need something in it’s current form any more, don’t be in a hurry to throw it out.   Take some time to consider the options available to you. 

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  1. Great tips! I can personally attest to # 3 and starting small. Now that I have a toddler on my hands, there is absolutely no time to think about organization or de-cluttering, so I've just decided to work on one thing each day – a drawer today, a closet tomorrow, etc. Before you know it, you've finished a whole room and ready to move on to the next!

    Thanks for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! I'm now following you on FB and Twitter 🙂

  2. Zoe

    Thanks for the follows! I can totally sympathise that it is tricky with young kids around and like you am only able to focus on small areas every so often, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end!

  3. I recently moved to a smaller flat so my decluttering was pretty much forced on me which made me act faster than I would have otherwise done.

    I took 5 fairly large bags for life worth of clothes to the local Oxfam clothes bank and have just got rid of my vacuum cleaner on Freecycle (the flat I moved into already had a compact vacuum).

    I've still got a surplus hi-fi and speakers to get rid of and a few small electricals but I'm slowly getting there.

    I think if I hadn't moved, I wouldn't have thought much about decluttering due to the time involved but really it hasn't been all that bad.

  4. love, love, love this post – I always seem to be decluttering and you've shared such helpful ideas. I've shared it in this month's britmums roundup, so hopefully you'll get some extra traffic to be inspired by your post 🙂

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