Parting with Emotional Clutter

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Watch our CUT THE CLUTTER video!

Recently, I shared a video on how to declutter, but what I did not cover is how to deal with some of the emotional aspects of decluttering. Today I want to share some tips and tricks about declutter – and especially when it comes to the more emotional side of things.

Tip #1: Go into a space with a fresh set of eyes

It is easy to become blinded to clutter. Items that have been in your home for a long time but are no longer useful can sometimes become invisible to us. Try going into a space with a fresh set of eyes. When you see items that you no longer use, you can safely part with them.

Tip #2: Ask yourself if you are the best user for an item

If you are going through your things and you are wondering whether or not to get rid of them, then ask yourself whether you are the best user for that item. If you are, then by all means keep it – but if not, give it away to someone who would make better use of it.

For example, I had some make-up that I used some of the time, but I really preferred to use other items in my make-up collection. I gave my less used make-up to my nieces who went absolutely crazy for it! Remember, if you are not the best user for an item, there is always someone out there who can use it more.

Tip #3: Lose the guilt

One of the biggest challenges we have as humans when we declutter is feelings of guilt. This is especially true if you have something that was given to you as a gift – by your mom for example – that does exactly suit you. You hold on to that item, not because you enjoy it but because you feel guilty getting rid of it.

Here is a secret. If someone gives you a gift, they probably like you – maybe even love you – and want you to be happy. Your relationship with them does not depend on an item.

Tip #4: Always be decluttering

Here is an easy rule to remember: ABD – or Always Be Decluttering.

Whenever you are in a space, challenge yourself to be finding things that you don’t need anymore.

One of my personal examples is a juicer that Chad and I used for a while after we got it, but eventually stopped using it and it was just taking up space and getting in the way. We put it in our donation pile and freed up the space.

Decluttering can be an emotional challenge for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the task can seem overwhelming – especially if you have a space that has not been decluttered in a while. If you start small, and use some of the tips listed above, you will be on your way to a much more peaceful and less cluttered space.

How difficult is it for you to declutter?

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

10 COMMENTS

  1. someone once said ‘if you dont use it, or it doesnt bring you joy, give it to someone that will’. I use this rule to purge. it works.

  2. Getting easier since I read Marie Kondos book (and watch your videos almost daily about keeping areas clean in our home!). I use a home seller’s eye when looking through my home- if I were to list this place tomorrow, what would the buyer see? First is clutter (hello, KonMari) – and I take pictures on my phone, and then look at them instead of the actual space- then the notebook comes out and I detail every space that needs cleaning, repair, paint, refreshing. Thanks to YOU, I cleaned my dryer out for the first time in… 11 years??? (I’m sure I was overdue for a house fire with that one).

  3. As a Professional Organizer assisting clients with this weekly, I simply ask clients “is this object something where you were 5 years ago, or is it something that represents where you want to be in 5 years?” Often the object is then placed in The Donation Box.

  4. Thank you so much for this video. It is exactly what I needed as I am preparing to sell my house and downsize! Are you sure your mom won’t be mad at me for getting rid of the letters we exchanged when we were 13 years old???? LOL

  5. Thanks for this video Melissa – it feels good to know that I am not alone when I feel guilty about giving away gifts and feeling overwhelmed while starting some of my decluttering tasks!

  6. I am doing it alot easier now. what i do tho is: i empty at least one drawer/cabinet into a box and put it out of the way, take our what you know you will use. if after a month or 2 and you have not taken anything out of that box-get rid of it all. just because we have space doesnt mean we have to keep unused STUFF in it. my house is getting so uncluttered now, its great. i feel free of clutter

  7. I have found as an Organizer, if you take a photo of a space, like your desk area or a cabinet, it will appear different than how you view it with your own eyes. It looks messier. This is an advantage for you to see how others see your space and will often help you view what needs to be decluttered.

  8. It is very hard for me to decluter . I have been at it for some months now.. Even today I just started and am already looking for tips .. Thanks for the video

  9. I love your thoughts, but wish I could read them instead of watching a video. I do better if things are listed for me. Thank you for your ideas!

  10. You hit the nail on the head about ‘not seeing’ things other’s would notice. Sometimes noticing it takes too much energy because then we’d have to do something about it if we are tired or stressed. The ‘looking with new eyes’ is an excellent tip and very insightful.

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