What’s holding you back?

We all have hesitations when it comes to change. It’s normal to drag your feet when you don’t know if the change will be an improvement or if it will last or how other people will respond. Fear of change, however, can keep you from achieving the life you desire and you shouldn’t let “what if …” scenarios rule the day.

Try not to let these common fears deter your progress:

What if you end up needing an item you purged? You can buy the item again. You can borrow it from a family member, friend, or neighbor. You can discover an alternative.

What if I miss my stuff even if I don’t need it again? You’ll only miss your stuff if you’re uncluttering for the sake of uncluttering. However, if you unclutter because you wish to pursue the life of your dreams, you won’t have time to miss your stuff because you’ll be doing amazing things (or not doing amazing things if relaxation is one of your goals).

What if my housemates don’t respect the changes I’ve made? Sit down and have a conversation with them outlining your visions for the space and get them on board with your uncluttering and organizing efforts before you start working. Seek out professional help from a family counselor, relationship therapist, or even a professional organizer who can help everyone work together to find common ground.

What if I have to unclutter and organize again? Uncluttering and organizing isn’t a goal, but rather it’s a path to the life you desire. You’ll have regular maintenance tasks as you go forward, but these tasks are usually minimal compared to the first large project. Every day I do something small, like returning items to their proper storage areas. Also, remember that uncluttering and organizing takes practice — the more you do it, the easier it gets. Be prepared to have many bumps in the road as you get started. There isn’t anyone who randomly woke up one day capable of winning an Olympic gold medal. It takes years of practice to create a champion.

7 Comments for “What’s holding you back?”

  1. posted by Anne on

    “if you unclutter because you wish to pursue the life of your dreams, you won’t have time to miss your stuff because you’ll be doing amazing things”

    I find this quote really inspiring. I’m currently in the middle of uncluttering a great deal of stuff. I’ve lived and travelled a lot overseas in recent years but each time, in the run up to a trip, I’ve agonised about and felt very weighed down and tied down by all my stuff: what to take, what I might or might not need, what to do with things left behind, what the point is of storing nice things back in my home country that I can’t take with me. Now that I’m spending some extended time at home I’ve decided to unclutter my life once and for all. I’ve already scanned or bought ebook replacements for most of my books (which caused consternation from book lovers on another article on this site) but I have so many other tasks still to do (mostly digitization of videos, CDs, letters etc.) that I sometimes get overwhelmed and think I’ll never finish and end up going away again with that horrid weighed down feeling. Have any other readers felt the same thing and done a similar project? How long did it take? How did you stay motivated? Did you reach your goal? Did you feel as great as I imagine I’ll feel when I’ve sorted through all my things and preserved the important bits of my history? I’d love to know!

  2. posted by laura m. on

    The recent storms in my state got me to declutter items not used/worn this past fall and winter, shoes and some household items. Also there are several church run thrift shops, Salvation army, and several group homes in my area. Decluttering is continuous at least twice a yr in spring and fall. I took about 25 CD’s to a senior adult clubhouse to use for dances, the stuff they’d like; the others went in the trash. The ideal is to limit yourself to so many pants, skirts, jackets, shoes, kitchen stuff,etc. and stick to only several clothing colors, and I’m still working on this. Several years ago, I unloaded, sold so called nik nak vases, dishes, wall pictures, etc. Cleaning and dusting around these items got to be a drag. Linen and blanket purging during disaster relief is best time or give to group homes, women’s shelters.

  3. posted by Rune on

    We’ll I can say that in life the only permanent thing is Changes. We can be an organize person if we choose to be pleasant, manage our things for our convenience. being uncluttered is a choice!

  4. posted by bytheway on

    I find this extremely affirming also. Since I’ve started to seriously purge things about 10 years ago, I’ve wished I’ve saved something exactly TWICE. Once, in my haste after buying a new car, I had 2 days afterward shredded the paperwork on the old one, which I had traded-in. The dealer called and needed some records for that vehicle. We had to ask the bank for a re-issue. Cost me $10. Second, I had given away all my old prom dresses to Goodwill after college. I should have kept the ugliest one to wear to an 80s party. And that’s it, folks. I’ll take the risk on throwing rather than saving any day!!!!

  5. posted by *pol on

    Thanks, I needed that.
    Keeping the vision for my ideal life is very hard for me when I’m faced with the decision to keep or purge each item. BUT it is a gift and affirmation every time I open up a cupboard and something DOESN’T fall on my head now! That is a great motivator to keep at it.
    (All my books ALMOST fit in my bookshelves now – yippee!)

  6. posted by Karen Hagee on

    Yes, uncluttering is an on-going process and not a means to an end. I will start with one room and move through my living space. By the time I am done I start over.

  7. posted by Marcie Lovett on

    Change is hard, and people often tolerate their cluttered environments because they’re afraid of the things you mention. I have never missed anything I gave away and almost none of my clients has ever regretted discarding objects. Before you let go of anything you own, ask the questions Erin has written about numerous times: Do you use it? Does it bring you enjoyment? Do you have room for it? If you can’t answer yes to any of those, then you won’t miss it when it’s gone.

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