The Perfect Decluttering Tip I Learned From My Friend Who’s Always Moving
Unless you’ve spent time thinking about it and plotting ways to harness it in your favor, you may not realize how much your mind is involved in the cleaning and organizing tasks that have to get done. From finding the best cleaning routine that works for your household to mustering up the gumption to finally clean your oven before holiday cooking commences, there are a lot of mental gymnastics involved in the chores you do to keep your home the way you like it.
Decluttering might be the most mentally complicated home-keeping task you undertake because there’s often a heavily emotional component. Many people grapple with letting go of sentimental items and struggle with the fear of letting go of something they might need down the road. Many feel guilty when “good money is spent” on something that they never used or no longer need, and contend with feeling like they’re wasteful or ungrateful for what they have.
But there’s also tremendous psychological gains made when you’re able to send items off to new homes. You breathe easier with more space and reclaim the time and energy that’s been siphoned off by managing so many things for so long.
The key to bridging the gap between these two states of mind is adopting a perspective that helps us put those sticky items in the giveaway pile. I’ve taken on several helpful mindsets over the years, including asking myself the famous “Does this spark joy?” along with keeping only the “best, favorite, and necessary” and deciding that my home will not serve as a storage unit.
A friend in the middle of a recent move shared something with me that I’ve added to this arsenal of decluttering mantras. She has moved many times and is the best declutterer I know. As she was describing selling and donating items as she and her family downsized, she offhandedly mentioned, “We got our use out of them.” And I had an aha moment.
I don’t need to feel guilty when I donate things that no longer serve my family. Paying to use something while we were using it makes our expenditure worthwhile, whether or not we hang on to it through new seasons of life. In fact, not letting go of these types of items that take up space and do little else transforms our money-spending for something once useful into a sunken cost for something that only weighs us down.
Realizing that it’s normal and acceptable to buy and use items for part of our lives, rather than maintaining a mindset of holding on indefinitely to everything you get, is a game-changer. Telling yourself, with gratitude, that you got your use out of whatever-it-is loosens the grip you have on your stuff so that, ultimately, your stuff loses its grip on you.