Decluttering Tips, Home Organization

Why it’s Difficult to Let Go

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I recently read somewhere that the average American home contains over 300,000 items and that 1 in 4 Americans has a clutter problem.  That’s a lot of items and that’s a lot of people who have a problem – approximately 82 million people!  It’s no wonder that shows like Hoarders (A&E/Hulu), Get Organized with The Home Edit (Netflix), and Hot Mess House (HGTV) are so popular.  We can either relate because we are the ones who have a clutter problem, or we know someone who does.  But why is it so difficult to let go of the clutter?

We feel obligated, which makes it difficult to let go

Have you ever received a gift from someone, and you felt obligated to keep it, although you don’t like the item or can’t use it?  Or have you ever been the recipient of items from someone who has passed on and you felt like you needed to keep it?  Or do you have kids who have received hand-me-downs from other family members, who mean well?  Hear me when I say this, as I turn up the volume for those in the back of the room…  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KEEP THOSE ITEMS!!!  YOU.  CAN.  LET.  THEM.  GO!!! 

If you can’t use an item, move it on.  Give the object to someone who CAN use it or donate it to a charity of your choice.  The gift is in the act, not in the item and once you have received it, it is yours to do with as you will.  You do not need to feel obligated to keep it, so remove it from your home if you don’t need it, don’t want it, don’t use it, or don’t love it.  Don’t let it take up space in your home and don’t feel guilty for letting it go.

Elsa from Frozen tells you to Let it Go
As Elsa say, “Let it GO!”

It’s sentimental

Sentimental items, photos and mementos can be some of the toughest items to let go of, especially if they are heirlooms.  However, as mentioned previously, if it is not something you need, want, use, or love you can let it go.  Your love for that person, or the memory you have of that person is not about the item.  The memory is in your heart.  If you feel that you must keep the item, instead consider taking a photo of it and journaling your memories about the item and the person.  This takes up a lot less space than the item does in your home.

The same goes for mementos and photos.  You do not need to keep every last one.  (Take this from a scrapbooker.)  Ditch the duplicate and bad/blurred photos.  Keep your favorite photos and place them in an album for others to enjoy.  Keep a few of your most favorite mementos and have them displayed in your home to keep the memories alive.

It's difficult to let go of heirlooms
Heirlooms can be difficult to part with

“Just in Case” I need it

You know you’ve said it.  I’ve said it.  We all do from time to time.  “I’m going to keep that, just in case.” But there are times when Just in Case can be too much.  Do you really need 5 Costco-sized packs of toilet paper for your home when it is just you and your husband?  Probably not.  Or do you need to keep the manual potato masher just in case the electric beater goes out on Christmas day.  Uh, probably not.

Now, I’m not saying it isn’t a good idea to have backups of frequently used items, but it can get out of control.  If you have more than what your family will use in the next 30 days, consider donating the extras to an organization that could use them.  Or if you have duplicates of tools, utensils, or other backup items, those are also items that you could declutter and remove from your space.

Potato Mashers shouldn't be difficult to let go of
A potato masher shouldn’t be difficult to let go of

I spent Good Money, which makes it difficult to let go

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of items that you spent “good money on”.  But know this…  You already spent the money.  It’s not going to magically return to your bank account, or at least the total spent won’t come back.  You might decide to sell the item on Ebay or through a yard sale, but chances are, you won’t recoup the complete amount you originally spent.  Just because you spent “good money” isn’t reason enough to keep an item.

Ebay logo

Someday I’ll…  Syndrome

Lastly, and probably the most difficult issue to address is the Someday I’ll Syndrome…  Someday, I’ll get back to scrapbooking when I have more time.  One day, we will have another dog.  Maybe, I’ll refinish that table in the garage someday.  I plan to fit back into those jeans.  Someday… Someday… Someday…

Nowhere between Sunday and Saturday does Someday fall.  Someday is not a date on the calendar. Therefore, if you find yourself saying “Someday”, be more specific.  Pick a date on the calendar, and if you haven’t used it, done it, or achieved it by that date…  Get rid of it and Let it Go!

For scrapbookers, it's difficult to let go of supplies
If you aren’t using them, they shouldn’t be difficult to let go of

If you need more help on knowing if you should keep or toss an item so you can declutter your space, be sure to check out a previous post Keep it?  Toss it? 

My hope for you this week is that you will learn why it’s so difficult to let go of clutter and that it’s okay to let it go. Challenge yourself and let go of 5 items this week, that you no longer need, love, want or use.

Here’s to letting go of the clutter and RESETTING your life!


Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – CHRISTINA SCALISE

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