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Decluttering is difficult. We get stuck, we want to give up, it’s hard to find the time and the focus required. I get it. I’ve been there.
I came up with so many excuses as to why decluttering all the excess junk in my life just wasn’t worthwhile. Or, I’d start decluttering and come up with a million excuses to hang on to things that I didn’t need to be hanging on to.
That sweater came from my long lost aunt, once removed from my fathers uncles mother. I’ve only met her once, but she wouldn’t want me getting rid of that.
Or, life would simply get in the way and I couldn’t, wouldn’t, find the time to work on it. I wasted more time dragging my feet that it took me a ton of time that wasn’t necessary. I created problems for myself instead of just embracing the fact that I knew I needed to make this work and get rid of all the excess stuff cluttering up my life.
Once I worked through these 9 excuses, I realized I was just mentally blocking myself. I felt so much better after we ridded ourselves of all this excess. Each bag was like a ton of weight off of my shoulders. Each day we set to sort through more was a welcome relief. Life without all of that stuff is so much better and more rewarding.
I was holding myself back thinking I didn’t deserve to be happy and not so overwhelmed. When in reality, I did deserve it, and so do you.
If you find yourself struggling with these hurdles and excuses, bear with me because I’ve got how to work through them all laid out so you don’t have to waste all that time and mental energy like I did.
9 Excuses We Make to Hang on to Our Clutter
Excuse 1 I Might Need It Some Day
Oh, this is a difficult one. We’re afraid that we may need something again even though we used it once, put it in the back of the closet and didn’t even remember it existed until 10 seconds ago.
The truth is, if you haven’t used something in 6 months, it is highly unlikely you’ll ever use it again. If you really sit down and are honest with yourself about it, I bet you can’t remember the last time you used it.
I know, it’s possible you’ll need to use it again. But, I bet you can borrow it from a friend or neighbor if you do require that particular item again.
Another suggestion I make to people is if you sincerely think you might need it, put it in a box with the other I might need it some day items. Tape it up and put it up on a shelf. Set yourself a reminder for 30 days on your phone. If the reminder goes off and that box is still sitting, taped up, on the shelf? Put it directly into your car, don’t open it, and take it to be donated.
Excuse 2 I Spent a Lot of Money on It
Stuff is expensive, I get it. I don’t even want to admit how many times we’ve donated high-ticket items because we collected them for no particular reason.
I’m definitely not made of money, and I’m sure you’re not either. However, the money wasted on the item is already spent and long gone. Not a lot we can do it now, unfortunately.
Whether an item cost $1 or $1,000 if you don’t love it, need it, or use it… let it bless someone else.
- A note on selling items: I rarely suggest selling your stuff. Unless it is a particularly big ticket item you know you can unload quickly. If we just take a pile from our house and throw it in the garage for a one-day garage sale, it’s still cluttering up our space and, in turn, our lives and minds.
Excuse 3 If I get rid of this, I’ll feel guilty
You have a trinket your grandmother passed down to you from her own mother. Or, your aunt gave you this sweater you’ve never worn and you’ll feel guilty if you get rid of either item.
It can be difficult not to hold on to guilt thinking that the giver would be upset if you get rid of a particular item. Whether it’s something that has been handed down or simply a Christmas gift, it’s still a gift. If it’s not bringing value to your life, would that person truly want you to hold on to it?
When you give someone a gift is the idea that they should hold on to it forever or should they hold on to it until it no longer serves them?
When my mother passed away, I wanted to keep everything of hers that I had that was either hers or had been gifted by her. But, it wasn’t adding value to our lives to clutter up our home with stuff from her or that was hers. Instead, I picked a few meaningful items that I love and allowed my girls to pick a few items from her that they loved. We leave these items out where we can see them and be reminded of her each day instead of a bunch of stuff piled in a box that isn’t valuable or meaningful at all.
Excuse 4 It might be worth something
Sure, it might. I had toys from my childhood up until I was a young adult that would be worth money now. Most, however, wouldn’t be. Unless something is in fantastic shape, it’s probably not worth much at all.
If you truly want to do the homework and take the time to find a buyer for a particularly valuable item, you can. You’ll need to find out if it’s valuable, have it appraised, list it, hold on to it until you have a buyer, haggle, then sell. If you feel like you’re going to give away hundreds or thousands of dollars to the thrift shop, do some homework.
You still have to follow through, though. You can’t find out it’s valuable on ebay and then sit it in the corner. You need to have it appraised and then consequently list it and sell it. You need to follow through, otherwise it’s simply an excuse (which is what you’re trying to avoid).
Excuse 5 It takes too long to declutter, I don’t have time right now
Clutter is incredibly overwhelming, I totally get it. As someone who has 3 kids I homeschool, animals to care for, a business to run and a husband that works 70+ hours a week, I’m not exactly swimming in excess time. But, you know what? We made the time and now? We have more time together and I spend far less time cleaning. Which, is amazing… not having to constantly be cleaning.
Decluttering is an overwhelming project to add to your list of never-ending tasks, I get it. But, you can tackle this… slowly, but surely. I always ask people… do you have ten minutes a day you can spare? I bet you do. You can spend 10 less minutes scrolling on your phone, get up 10 minutes earlier, stay up 10 minutes later. There is somewhere, somehow that you can carve 10 minutes a day out. Then, you just declutter for those 10 minutes working on small areas until you get them finished and move on to the next space.
Excuse 6 My husband, kid, roommate, _____ isn’t on board
It can be difficult to declutter when everyone you share your home with isn’t on the same page. I’m lucky that my husband was totally on board with the decluttering habit. However, he does still hang on to far more than I think is necessary. And you know what? That’s okay.
My kids, they’ve pretty much just gone with it. But, not everyone is so lucky. Some of us have spouses, kids, or other people living with us that do not agree with the whole less is more mentality. And that’s alright. You don’t need everyone under your roof to agree. You simply set limits.
Husband doesn’t want to get rid of his stack of baseball cards? Wants to hang on to all of his clothes, tools, knick knacks. Maybe your mom lives with you and she wants to keep all of her stuff. That’s fine. Give your husband the garage, the basement, the closet. Give your mom her room or space. Whatever you need to do to keep the peace.
Make the spaces that you have to deal with daily clutter free. Such as the living room and the kitchen. Have the other individuals in the household store their stuff in spaces that haven’t been designated as clutter free. Clutter free zones can be decluttered and kept that way.
What will happen? You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised when the other members who gave you so much flack about decluttering eventually jump on board with the idea. It may take a while, but if you lead by example and don’t nag everyone, they’ll eventually come around when they see how much better your life is with less stuff.
Excuse 7 I’m saving it for my kids
They don’t want it. My mom kept so much of my childhood stuff. And I wanted very little of it. By holding on to something for your children, all you’re doing is passing on the burden of deciding what to keep and what to donate on to them. Keep a few meaningful items for your kids to decide when they’re old enough if they want to hang on to and that’s it.
For instance, I kept each of my daughters first stuffed toy and their baby blanket. I also have their hospital bracelets from birth. That’s it. My mom kept all of my baby teeth, she held on to every single piece of schoolwork I had, artwork, spelling tests, report cards, all of it. And I honestly don’t want any of that stuff.
Keep a few meaningful keepsakes and let the rest go. I know it’s difficult. This stuff is sentimental. But, it’s not going to be something your children truly want to hang on to when they’re older.
Excuse 8 Everyone else has one
This is that consumerism mentality we all have engrained into us coming out.
Who exactly is everyone else? And why do we care what they have and if we have the same things? We all have a habit of doing this and it’s a terrible habit. I don’t care if everyone in my neighborhood, town, state, or country has this thing. If it isn’t serving me and my family and bringing value and joy to our lives, we don’t need it.
The whole keeping up with the Joneses mentality is what often gets us into this mess of clutter we’re in. You do you and make your decisions on what you need and want in your life without taking the Joneses into consideration.
Excuse 9 I don’t know what to do with everything
I have fell into this trap before. I declutter everything, box it up and… it sits. It sits in the corner of my garage waiting for that maybe one day garage sale. Or, I sit it by the door, in the closet, somewhere awaiting its trip to the donation center. And it never gets there.
You aren’t done until all of that stuff is out of your home and where it’s supposed to be. Trash needs to be taken outside to the outside trash receptacle awaiting pickup. Recyclables need to be taken outside to the recycling can or your local recycling center and donations need to be taken outside to the vehicle to await your next trip to town to be dropped off.
Don’t say you’re done until you’ve gotten everything out of your house and well on its way out of your life. For donations, you need to bag or box them up, put them in the trunk of your car and set a reminder on your phone. We live pretty far from town, but we are in town at least once a week. So, I set a reminder on my phone for later in the week (give yourself a time limit that works with your schedule) to remember to take the stuff to the goodwill.
Another option for clothes is to donate to ThredUP. You fill a bag, send it off and they will donate $5 to one of their charities and give you a $5 tax credit. I haven’t used them personally, but I have heard some pretty good things about them. I mention this simply because it’s an option for not having to leave the house. You can simply leave it for your mail carrier, just remember to set it out!
I know how difficult it can be to even get started decluttering, we constantly come up with excuses to not do something. Or, we just don’t follow through. But, it’s worth it to work through these excuses and follow through. Not having all of that excess clutter is life-changing.
What is holding you back from decluttering?
Other Decluttering Posts You’ll Love:
- The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed
- How to Declutter Your Bedroom
- How to Easily Declutter Toys for a More Abundant Life