Five questions to ask when decluttering gets tough

Letting go is hard. There is no other way to slice it. I could tell you that with practice it gets easier. And that is actually true. But the reality is that saying goodbye – to anything – can feel like a loss.

At least initially.

In time, and in giving the process of decluttering a chance, you start to feel differently. And you start to see that all of that loss was a necessary evil for all that you gain. That letting go actually gave you so much more in the way of time, mind, and space.

You learn that you gain more of what matters to you when you let go.

You feel that gain when you declutter the easier stuff, those things you have that don’t carry much sentimental weight. Things like linens or kitchen gadgets that are in excess, or really anything that is old, unused, broken. Everything feels lighter – as it should – when you reduce your load of the “too much” that is taking up valuable space.

You also feel that gain when you face your fears and let go of the harder stuff, like the things that are sentimental. The problem is that letting go of those things is more layered. Those layers might require a deeper look into the thought patterns that create clutter and make letting go more difficult.

Whether you are decluttering the easy or the more difficult, the struggle to let go is real. So when things get tough ask yourself these five questions.

1. How do I want to feel in my home?

How you want to feel should be a driving force in why you are letting go in the first place. Get crystal clear on it so you can then ask whether the item in question contributes or takes away from that feeling you wish to attain.

2. Would I buy this [again]?

This is a great question to ask whether you bought an item or received it from someone. Do you like it enough that if you saw it in a store, you would buy it [again]?

3. Who will sort through my belongings when I am gone and what can I do now to lessen that burden?

No one wants to think about what happens when you are no longer here. But the reality is we are all going to die and when we do what we “own” will be left – for someone to sort through. I am not saying you should get rid of everything. I am saying you should think about the reality and decide specifically on what really should have a place in your space. Don’t justify keeping what has no purpose, or no real reason for being in your home. Making those kinds of excuses just puts the burden of letting go on someone else. {Likely someone you love}.

4. Do I need this or am I just attached to the memory this item presents?

If something has a good memory attached and it is useful and liked, that is a win-win. However, if something has a memory attached and it serves no purpose, it – unlike the experience you had – is clutter. In the words of Courtney Carver, “Your heart doesn’t want to hold on to stuff. All it wants is love.”

Just remember, getting rid of an item that you don’t like, need, or use does not mean you are getting rid of the experiences you had.

5.  Will this matter, be needed, make sense for my life in a few years? How about five?

If you can’t see it in your near future you might question if it adds meaning now to the life you are living (or want to live). In fact, there is a reason you are questioning it in the first place. Honor that reason.

Living Intentionally means you let thoughts, things, and even people into your life and your space that add purpose and joy, and discard what doesn’t.

The discarding might be painful. But the rewards in following through are anything but.


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