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How to deal with decluttering remorse


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