Most would agree that decluttering your house is an activity we can all add to our to-do list. Who doesn’t have more than they need or use. Gosh, we can all readily point out lots of those extra things in our own homes!
But if you’re having a hard time with actually following through, why does it feel difficult? What’s holding you back?
Today I’m exploring 3 common reasons why we accumulate too much: family legacy, storage capacity, and consumerism.
These challenges are roadblocks to releasing stuff that doesn’t need to stay any more. Understanding when they are at play is the first step in the decluttering process. Then we can learn how to overcome them and begin streamlining our homes.
Are you ready to create serene space and retain just your favorites? Read on!
This post reveals 3 roadblocks to conquer when decluttering your house!
Challenge #1: Family Legacy
When you’re decluttering your house, the sentimental value of things from your loved ones is one of the hardest challenges to face! I’ve seen folks hang on to all sorts of things because they were handed down from a beloved family member.
Think Grandma’s crocheted afghans or Aunt Millie’s costume jewelry collection. Others were raised to maintain a certain type of household, which includes a good set of silver, damask tablecloths or Waterford crystal.
Now don’t misunderstand: I believe in honoring our loved ones!
But when things are collecting dust … when their taste is not our taste … when our lifestyle does not embrace those items … wouldn’t it be time to let them go?
Releasing family keepsakes does not mean we are rejecting our heritage!
There are ways we can be true to our roots yet avoid filling our homes with things we don’t need, use or love. By all means, pick a couple of items that speak to you. Display them, whether in a photo montage or on an end table.
However, if the item truly doesn’t suit your style …if you’d rather set it back in the closet or drawer … you’re likely keeping it out of guilt.
Recognize that your beloved relative and the item are not one and the same! Instead, release the item to someone who will appreciate and use it.
Challenge #2: Storage Capacity
Let’s face it: when we have room to keep something away, we do it! And Americans revel in way more housing square footage than almost any other nation. We have more rooms with dedicated purposes. Think dining rooms or guest bedrooms.
Fortunately, home builders are moving towards including “flex rooms”. And “great rooms” and “eat-in kitchens” are in vogue. Yet when the day comes that we are ready or need to downsize, it’s eye-opening to look around and see how much we thought we needed, isn’t it?
And when it comes to buying, we may tell ourselves that the new item will replace an old one … but does the old one really make it out the door?
Sometimes, we buy another thing to stock up or just in case. But how hard would it be to wait and buy it only at the time we need it? It seems we have a fear of being unprepared. (OK, maybe one can’t have too much toilet paper!)
Are we really too busy to clear things out, but not too busy to buy new things?
Here’s a thought: consider reflecting on the purchases you plan to make. Is it to replace or to add to what you already have? Do you need it right now? Do you enjoy the thrill of having something new?
This leads right into challenge #3!
Challenge #3: Consumerism, Baby!
Today’s consumer hardly stands a chance in the face of pervasive marketing at every turn. Whether TV commercials, infomercials, billboard or magazine ads … it’s everywhere!
And now, nothing is as powerful as social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok barrage us with recommendations to buy something which will make us more attractive, thinner, hipper, happier, you name it.
Every season, there is a new fashion rule for what we should wear. We have pre-holiday sales, holiday sales, post-holiday sales, clearance sales, and even “oops, our mistake, here’s a discount from us” sales!
It’s non-stop and it’s exhausting. It’s also expensive!
But what if we turned off the noise? What if we unsubscribe from retail newsletters and email lists? (We can always sign up again to snag a discount … just unsubscribe afterwards!)
What if we didn’t buy the latest version if the older version we own is perfectly fine?
Know that I am not advocating that you never buy something different! Instead, I am suggesting you purchase mindfully.
My 3-part trademark mantra is this: “Do I need it? Will I use it? Do I love it?”
Then, add to that, “Do I need it right now?” and “What else could I do with these funds?” In other words, thoughtful questions lead to thoughtful purchases!
Now off to decluttering your house!
The Wrap: Today was all about decluttering your house by starting with your "why"!
Figuring out why we have too much stuff in our homes will allow us to start decluttering in an easier and more mindful manner.
Additionally, we can maintain a newly streamlined space which feels soothing, when we know the obstacles that can stop us in our tracks!
Additional Topics and Resources to Explore
4 Tricky Truths that Put the Brakes on Decluttering Your Home
Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Declutter So Much Easier?
Listen to Kitty Cotten’s Tips & Tricks
- Which challenge is hardest for you?
- How do you keep decluttering anyway?
Drop your thoughts in the comments below … and thanks for stopping by!