The ten reasons we fail to deal with clutter

So I have started my new blog and a new pledge to clear 2014 items from my home. This idea came from the fantastic Slow your home blog. Unfortunately almost at the moment I mentally sign up to this challenge, I begin to feel a sense of panic.

2014 items sounds a lot of items and once I start to put a guesstimate on the number of items I potentially have in my flat looks like tens of thousands. The enormity of the task finally sinks in. In the words of Scooby doo…yikes!

It’s not just the number of items, it’s the process itself that feels so daunting. I love, love love a lot of my stuff. It’s quirky and original, or it belonged to a favourite great uncle etc etc. I realise to get rid of the clutter I need to address the reasons why I keep hold of it in the first place. The main reasons I’ve identified are these…

1. I might need it someday
This a big fear. Ok so i haven’t used it for the past ten years but I might need it again and then I will have to replace it. This will cost money, which I’m always short of , probably because I buy so much stuff.
The reality: Most of these items are low value and it I haven’t used an item in ten years when I had loads of spare time, now I have a daughter and have less time, will I really get round to using it? Is it worth keeping an item that I will use once in a blue moon? What could I do with the extra space?

2. It was a gift
The thought of giving away gifts from family and friends (whether I wanted them or not) makes me feel rather guilty. This then opens up a whole new layer of guilt around the presents I was given with love but didn’t actually want. Did I appear appreciative enough at the time? Did the person sense my disappointment, however skilfully hidden? I have to remember the old cliches that it’s ‘the thought that counts’ and the joy of ‘giving not receiving’ (plus will Auntie Audrey ever find out I never used her knitted toilet roll holder?).

3. It belonged to someone special
This a tricky one as objects can be loaded with memories of the person who once owned them. However love is not an object. Love is demonstrated in the actions, words and kindness of another person and this will not be diminished by the loss of a personal item.

4. I paid a lot of money for it
Then I should use it as a lesson not to spend so money on something I don’t really need. That money is gone so I need to take a deep breath, absorb the loss and move on.

5. I love it
Really? Love is a strong word. Do I use it on a regular basis? Is it beautiful? I don’t have to give everything away, but everything needs to justify its presence in my house.

6. I don’t have the energy to clear it
Yes I know this is a bad excuse, but it’s one I can easily roll out after a busy day of work and childcare. Yet it’s a viscous circle. The more I look at clutter, the more it drains my energy. I just need to start small.

7. It belongs to someone else
It’s frustrating when the clutter doesn’t belong to me but I’m hardly able to bin someone’s else’s stuff, especially as I haven’t even sorted out my own! I can only lead by example and explain what I’m doing. Best to change myself first, before attempting to change others.

8. It just needs mending
How long has it needed mending? If I’m talking months and years I need to accept I’m probably not going to fix it anytime soon. So I need to act now or chuck it.

9. I just never get round to it
Yes there always seems a nicer way to spend my time rather than tackling clutter, but how many episodes of Masterchef do I really need to watch? It’s a bit like eating chocolate every day – great at the time until I can’t get my trousers on. Then I feel terrible. Which is how I feel when I look at the clutter.

10. I’m going to sell it at a car boot or on eBay – at some point!
The sum total of the items I have sold on eBay is one. The number of car boot sales I have done in 20 years…is one. Now if I were a whizz at selling things, with a glowing track record and the time and energy to do so I would have done it by now. So the charity shop is probably the best option for me.

So there we have it. I have identified the reasons I am procrastinating, now I have to get out there and do something about it!

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4 replies

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