3 Things Organized People Never Say

published Feb 19, 2020
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Unlike most cleaning tasks, decluttering is not merely a physical endeavor. Purging items, even those as seemingly mundane as kitchen tools, can bring up a host of memories and feelings that can be at once overwhelming and paralyzing. It’s easier to hang on to the never-used crystal goblets you inherited rather than face the task of deciding what to do with them and feel the pain of parting, again, in your memory, with your beloved grandparents.

The rewards of decluttering, however, are no less palpable than the satisfaction of a freshly mopped kitchen floor. We know this, and in our quest for cleaned-out, edited homes that leave plenty of space for the best and most useful to shine, we seek pithy mantras that help us let go.

These sayings are like a decluttering angel, whispering encouragement into our ears to awaken a deep desire for simplicity and contentment. But the reason it’s often still so hard to let go is that there’s another competing voice on the other shoulder, telling us things that keep us entrenched in old habits of tenacity and the underlying struggles they point to.

Here are some of the decluttering devil’s favorite sayings—and how to slay him with alternate frames of mind:

Credit: Minette Hand

“But I might need it one day.”

Is your house your home or is it a storage unit for curtain rods you might need (and miraculously like again) six years down the road? Holding on to things you don’t need in your current life but keep because you might need them later could be construed as not letting go of things out of fear. Surely, you don’t want to expend time and energy and use valuable space feeding your fear. One helpful perspective from simplifying guru Tsh Oxenredier is to think of the thrift store as your nearly free storage unit.

“But I spent money on this.”

The money left your hands when you bought the item, not when you get rid of it. If this truth hurts, channel it into considering and re-considering your purchases with money-saving, no-spend hacks like implementing a 24-hour waiting period before bigger purchases.

“But this was a gift.”

Your home is your personal sanctuary and it’s perfectly fine to keep within it only the things that contribute positively to your life. Gifts that are kept out of obligation don’t. If guilt makes it hard to let go of things that were given to you that you don’t like or want, remember that the act of kindness and expression of love occurred in the giving and receiving of the gift, not in your keeping it. Take a minute to remember and appreciate that moment and then release the item.