Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Want to unclutter, but paralyzed

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    • #315513

      I have read many, many books on uncluttering and minimalism, and watched every season of Hoarders in an attempt to motivate/scare myself into getting rid of stuff, but every time I try to do so I can’t manage to let go of anything. My biggest obstacles are feeling guilty about getting rid of items I paid for, not wanting to “waste” anything, and believing I should keep something because I’ll need it in the future. The crazy thing is that I am an avid DIYer and often really DO find good uses for the stuff I’ve squirrelled away, which has only reinforced my resistance to parting with things.

      The past 2 weekends I’ve tried to clean out just 2 drawers, and have only been able to discard a few items. My house has bags scattered about with stuff I need to sort through from when I’ve “cleaned out” drawers in the past. I keep trying to start small, but I just keep failing miserably. I need all the help I can get. 🙁

      Thanks in advance for any tips and guidance.

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Evan.
    • #315622

      Hi, Evan — I’ve gone through a lot of the same thing. Over the years, the biggest push I’ve gotten was to be moving to a house about 1/4 of the size of the one we were in (as my husband tells downsizing friends — it only hurts for the first couple of days of getting rid of stuff). But short of that, I’ve packed things in banker boxes, stacked them up and donated them months later when I haven’t pulled stuff out to use. Usually the advice is to just put a date on the boxes, but I do an inventory because I like to take tax deductions when I donate the stuff. And I try to donate as much as possible — it’s not going to waste that way and I feel like I’m helping someone.

      Other approaches that have helped? Asking myself if I would spend the money to buy it new to own now (almost never). Having a friend (my mother and my sisters are the best at this) over to laugh at what I think I need to keep. Packing things up, like partially done projects, to donate so someone else can have the fun of finishing it (amazing how much easier it is to breathe when those old abandoned or never started projects are gone).

      Perhaps start with the drawers, pull out what you believe should or could go and pack it away for several months — seriously, when I’ve done that over the years, I have gone back in ONCE to get something. And getting rid of 3/4 of what we owned? I have a couple of things I sometimes get nostalgic about but it’s fleeting: I try to figure out where I would put it and realize I don’t have room in my life right now.

      Oh, and photos — I want to keep the memories so I have a ton of digital photos — I keep planning to write up the memories. Current plans though are to write up the stories behind the things we did keep. That way when the kids go through stuff after we’re gone, if they decide to keep anything, they will have the story.

      Okay, babbling here but I hope I’ve encouraged you to take a few first steps. Good luck.

    • #315645
      Marta Bergen

      I recommend “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui.” by Karen Kingston. I usually take Feng Shui with a grain of salt, but I found the book very pleasant, uplifting, and easy to follow. I would avoid any book that looks “cluttered” (amazingly, lots of Feng Shui books DO), or any that promise wealth, health, or any other magical effects. I would also avoid any that insult you (Feng Shui for Idiots, Dummies, etc.) We’re not dummies and idiots, are we?

      I’ve been donating a lot of books to the thrift shop lately, but I’m keeping that one.

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