10 common decluttering excuses

Many people have different reasons why they don’t declutter.  In my experience, as an Organising Expert, keeping unnecessary items and clutter can in fact do more harm that good in most instances.  Do you find yourself making decluttering excuses?

Here are 10 common decluttering excuses people use to avoid starting or doing it:

  1. I might need it later – many people hold on to items just in case they might need it in the future.  In most instances you probably don’t!  I’m certainly not saying get rid of all these items but want you to give thought to them rather than holding onto many such items that usually are taking up valuable space.  Be prepared to release and let go of things no longer needed or useful. If you are struggling with letting something go then a suggested approach may be to make a future date in your diary and if you haven’t used the item in that time ie 6 or 12 months then it is time to move it on.
  2. It was expensive – you or someone you know might have spent quite a bit of money purchasing an item and dollar symbol - declutter excuse as it was expensiveyou don’t want to see it go to waste.  If the item is something you are not using, or are likely to in the future, then it is still being wasted and there is no point keeping it.  If you are really worried about the expense you can try and sell it and recoup some of the money.
  3. I don’t know where to start – this is very common and often one of the things all of my new clients discuss with me.  I usually recommend to start small rather than trying to do a whole room in one go – pick a shelf, drawer or cupboard and start there.  The last thing you want to do is to create more overwhelm for yourself by pulling everything out as then you really won’t know where to start!
  4. I don’t have time – We are all busy and I get that life can take over from time to time.  However this is usually more than not just an excuse as most people find time for the things that are important to them.  If it is something you want to do then you can clock with a cross - no time to declutter excusealways start small and do 5-15 mins at a time.  If you did this on a regular basis then you will still make progress!
  5. Someone gave it to me – This is another common reason as people are worried that because it was given to them feel like they are not being respectful to whoever gave it to them if they get rid of it.  Often people think they need to keep it just in case that person comes over and looks for it.  In reality this doesn’t happen very often or even if it does maybe hang on to it for a little while but then it is really yours to do what you want with.
  6. I don’t know how long to keep something – I understand this can be difficult for some items like paperwork, filing, receipts – the important thing here is to find out from someone who does know and then set a system in place to regularly review your materials and keep them in order.
  7. There are memories attached to it – the main point to highlight here is the memories will still be with you without keeping a particular item.  If an item is really important to you then it is more than likely something you would like to see regularly rather than having it stored, often incorrectly, in a box somewhere in your home.  The unfortunate thing is that when I work we clients we often discover these items and they are damaged more often than not as they have not been stored correctly,  You might like to read this blog in how to deal with sentimental clutter.
  8. I have plenty of space to keep everything –  so this might be true but just because you have space it doesn’t mean you need to fill it all up.  Ideally you should only be keeping things that really matter to you, what you use and need and not just keeping everything because you have the space.  It won’t matter if you actually have a spare shelf in your cupboard – don’t just fill it up for the sake of it.
  9. My children might want these some day – the reality is probably not!  Please don’t take this personally as they no doubt care for you but they really don’t want your stuff.  It is probably best to ask rather than assume and keep things for them.  If you are having a clean out and come across items, from their childhood or items that belong to them, I usually suggest putting them together and then inviting them over to go through and take what they would like to keep.  It can be hard but you will need to accept their decision if they don’t want many of the items.
  10. Thinking you can do it on your own – for some people this is true but for the majority having someone to assist can help and make you accountable at the same time. That person, whether it be a friend or a professional like me, is not emotionally attached to your things and therefore can help to be objective and allow you to make decisions. If you think you can do it on your own often for some reason you actually just never get around to it!

Now you have all the reasons in the world NOT to declutter.  And they are all great reasons (or so you think). Do you know that keeping unnecessary items around can cause more harm than good?  Let’s see if you have said any of these things to justify keeping clutter.  Just to let you know, if you have, you’re not alone.

Next step

If you find yourself using and of these excuses to declutter then why not just get in touch to have a brief chat and see how I might be able to assist you.  I promise I WON’T make you do anything you don’t want to do as if we work together you will make your own decisions.  In working with my client I just ask the questions and you actually come up with the answers all by yourself.  So what have you actually got to lose?