Studies show that more than half of Americans need their homes decluttered. Living with too much stuff affects our lives in many ways, including time management, personal relationships, health, happiness, and financial well-being. Despite the obvious benefits of paring down, a lot of us just can’t do it. Our professional organizers in Potomac, MD tell you the most common roadblocks to decluttering, and how to overcome them.
1.) Guilt: 91% of us have kept something out of guilt. The main culprits include gifts, family heirlooms, clothing, and children’s artwork.
Solution: Use logic in your thinking. You are not emotionally responsible for an item given to you, and you get to decide its fate. Passing something along to a person who needs it can bring you joy and them gratitude. It’s also environmentally responsible (recycle, reuse). As for your kids’ art projects, remember the duplicates: Do 2 boxes full of crafts allow you to remember your son as a first grader more than 2 or 3 items?
2.) “I might need it later”: 63% of people keep an item they never use because of the remote chance they will want it in the future.
Solution: It’s so easy to re-acquire almost anything if you accidentally part with something useful. There are thrift shops, consignment stores, craigslist, and Freecycle libraries. You may even end up with something better than what you had before! Remember that the time savings from having less stuff (looking for misplaced items), or perhaps the money saved on storage units or house cleaning, will more than compensate you for the occasional expense of replacing something you mistakenly purged.
3.) Sentimental: This is an obstacle for 51% of people.
Solution: Our personall organizers in Potomac suggest you pick a decluttering day when you’re feeling strong (not when sad or vulnerable). Also remember that stuff does not equal memories. Those are captured in photos, the people around us, a few mementos, and diaries. If something doesn’t make you smile or feel happy, or if you have duplicates, get rid of it.
4.)Want to Sell: 26% of us hang onto something with the intention of selling it someday.
Solution: Many things depreciate, so do it now!! Start with a quick online search to determine value and the best route of delegation. Our personal organizers can help you find the best options.
5.) Possible gift potential: 19% of us clutter up our homes with items for re-gifting.
Solution: Find a decluttering buddy who will offer sensible advice to help rid the excess.
6.) Laziness : The good news is that only 2 % of us are too lazy to declutter!!
Solution: It’s tedious work, so hire help if need be. One value of professional organizers is the motivating power they have on people along with their expertise to get it done seamlessly.
7.) “ I paid good money for this”: Many people can’t get past this.
Solution: If you haven’t used it recently, then sell, trash or donate/give away. If ugly, no longer needed, or not compatible with the décor of your current home, the value to you has gone. It isn’t saving you money sitting in the attic. Be pleased with the use it served, and let it go.
8.) Humanize inanimate objects: Have you ever felt badly about placing a (cute) stuffed animal in the trash?
Solution: There are others who could derive pleasure from it.
9.) “I hate decluttering”: Paring down your belongings isn’t always enjoyable.
Solution: Make it fun!! Enlist a friend or professional or make it a family event. Play some upbeat music and order out.
10.) No time: If you’ve raised a family in your current home, chances are there is a lot of clutter.
Solution: Either schedule 1 hour of decluttering every Saturday until it’s done, or hire help. A team of professional organizers can pare down your belongings in a matter of a few days or even hours.
11.) Physical pain: Yale recently discovered that 2 areas in the brain associated with pain light up when we let go of items we feel a connection towards. These same parts of the brain respond when you feel physical pain. Ouch!
Solution: Don’t declutter alone. Ask a close friend, family member or professional to help every step of the way. Reward yourself once some progress is made (e.g. dining out at your favorite restaurant).
12.) “I don’t know where to start”: Are you too overwhelmed to begin?
Solution: Start small (e.g. linen closet) or tackle an area with the least amount of emotion attached (e.g. garage).
13) “I used to wear it all the time”: Do you have a closet full of clothes collecting dust?
Solution: Let’s say you have a bunch of in-style dresses that still fit but you never wear. Evaluate the reason. Perhaps your current job has a casual dress code and you prefer pants. Accept that you’re not a dress person but that some grateful recipient might be.
14.) “I changed my mind”: How many of us fill up boxes of things to give away, and then change our minds?
Solution: If you’ve decided to get rid of something, don’t delay the trip to the dump or donation site. Do it now.
There’s no need to be drowning in clutter. Start living free by paring down. If you need help or just motivation to get started, contact Potomac Concierge. Our personal organizers in Potomac, MD understand that there’s a lot more to culling clutter than tossing things in a bin. Our relationship with the things in our home is charged with emotion. We get that something as simple as a chipped plate may bring memories flooding back – its all in how you approach it.