So, someone asked me about decluttering remorse last week and it's such a great question. I mean, fear about regretting letting things go is one of the main reasons people put off decluttering as long as they can.
And I can totally understand. I've given things away only to later feel its loss. But I truly think that if you use these methods whenever you're feeling decluttering remorse, it will help. If you're really struggling with this, you may need to seek support from a councilor or psychologist as there may be deeper issues involved - especially around loss of a loved one. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up about it. The aim is to find a way that will help you feel ready to declutter now (not later)!
So here are my top 5 methods for dealing with decluttering remorse:
1) The practical
No matter how big your house is, storage space is finite! Think about how many cupboards you have and how much stuff needs to fit in it. If there's an excess, then it's time to re-think what needs to stay. Also, you don't want those cupboards packed so full, that things fall out when you open the door. It's rather satisfying when you open the cupboards to see things packed and placed neatly and with space around them, don't you think? When you look at beautifully presented linen cupboards or pantries on Pinterest boards, do you feel cupboard-envy?? I do! And that's why I continue to strive to achieve that too!
And don't fall into the trap of buying more storage containers for your stuff. Be honest with yourself - you're only putting off the inevitable!
2) You can't take it with you
My mum had a big house and it was full of things. She had a stroke at 68 and suddenly our world changed. When she eventually passed five years later, we had to address the things in the house. Take it from me, that was bloody hard. As my dad still lives there, we're still going through things and it's still bloody hard. Going through her things brought with it many overwhelming feelings: guilt, anguish, loss, anger....the whole gamut! It's exhausting and leaves me with nightmares and terrible anxiety. But, we soldier on. We focus on the easier things and put the more sentimental things aside. At some point we will have to face those too. We're lucky we can do this at our own steady pace but no matter how much we want to hold onto her things - they can't bring her back. That's the brutal truth. It bloody hurts!
The lesson I've learnt from all this is that I don't want to leave the same thing to my kids when my time comes.
3) Let others get enjoyment out of it
If you don't use something anymore, let someone else get enjoyment from it. Whether they're the kids' toys, your discarded handbags and clothes, or 'old' technology such as phones or tablets that you've replaced and upgraded. Why put these things in the cupboard where no one will use them! Seems crazy to me! Also, some of these things have value, so you can sell them on ebay or Facebook marketplace and get some cash back. That makes more sense, no?
4) Trust yourself
When you've decluttered, you will probably have thoroughly thought through why you're letting things go. Trust in that. And if and when you doubt yourself for letting it go, remind yourself of the reasons why you decided to do so.
5) Picture the life you want
Marie Kondo uses this when people get stuck with decluttering your life. Sports coaches use it too....imagine you winning or imagine you living the life you want. That visualisation can be a powerful thing and can help make the decision to let go of something and move towards your dream life. Worth a try, don't you think?