How to declutter when you want to keep everything

Tell me if these statements resonate:

I want to be clutter-free but I want to keep everything. I like my stuff.

It can be hard to reconcile both things. After all, how to declutter and be clutter-free when you want to keep everything seems a bit of a contradiction. While the answer is a bit layered, it is possible.

Here are three ways to help you make sense of it all.

How to declutter when you want to keep everything

1. Define “stuff”

What I will say might not make you happy, but I want to be honest and direct here. I have heard countless clients describe their belongings to me as “stuff”, and it is a bit of a head-scratcher. I hear the word and it quite accurately defines clutter. It is a non-descript way of describing something that has no grand pull or deep meaning – which would make me question why you are keeping something like that. Using the wrong language can set you up for failure. I see this often in the kitchen when people tell me they have a junk drawer.

A junk drawer? Does that mean what is inside is…junk?

When you call your belongings “stuff” or even refer to things collectively as “everything” it becomes a crutch or an excuse to avoid naming what it is, and accurately defining what you own. It is a lazier and non-committed way to declutter. {Sorry…but not sorry.}

Instead of lumping belongings into one word like stuff or everything consider calling out your things specifically so you can best understand what they are…and what they “do” for you and your space. This is a good first step and a better habit to get into when you start to declutter. Having an excellent understanding of what you are keeping and why is helpful when decluttering. It makes the decision-making a bit easier.

2. Know your why

This is the key to the kingdom. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t come easy for everyone to dig into their “why”. Why? Because digging requires emotions and tackling fears. Most people don’t get very excited about that kind of work. Nonetheless, it is the most important work to do to declutter, especially when you want to keep everything.

I had a client who wanted to keep everything. She often found reasons for repurposing or reusing items. They were all good reasons! And that is the rub. Just because something can be reused, repurposed, or even bought in the first place with good intentions doesn’t mean it should be kept. When she dug into her why she realized that “everything” wasn’t important or necessary to keep. And that trying to find reasons for why should keep something took more time, effort, and energy. It zapped her desire to do the work needed to lighten the load.

Your “why” is so important. Why do you want to be clutter-free? What are the specific goals and dreams you have for your life and space that a clutter-free environment will help you achieve? While a lot of people have similar answers to how they want to feel being clutter-free, the reasons why, and what they hope to gain are closely tied to who you are, and who you want be.

How to declutter when you want to keep everything
Know your why – as thoroughly and deeply as possible. When you do, you will more easily see that “everything” isn’t necessary, and your ability to decipher what is will be stronger.

3. Do you really want to keep everything?

Consider this: when you say you want to keep everything it might be because you are afraid to face the music. The “music” in this case is regret, an emotion that conjures up fear, and shame. The reality is that everything you own tells a story – about you, your habits, and your decision-making. Sometimes, it is a story that doesn’t end well. That is okay.

It is also okay to face the hard truth that you made a bad decision, or spent more than you should have for something you don’t like anymore! It is okay to close the chapter or the whole book itself and do a rewrite. You are allowed because you are the architect of your life. You get to choose the contents.

Don’t keep items as a placeholder for things you want to avoid. Ask yourself “Do I really want to keep everything?” Give it some thought before you answer and allow yourself to be brutally honest about what you want for your life.

Remember, clutter is the presence of things that have no good meaning or necessity. It is… “stuff”. Being clutter-free means having a good sense of what you own and why. If you focus on keeping everything that makes you feel good, has a use, and a real purpose, you will be happier for the long haul. And feeling clutter-free forever.



Watch and learn more! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ


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