Happy New Year! We made it! 2020: the year that kept on giving, even though we begged and begged it to stop, is finally over and we can turn the calendars over to a new year. We often have ample energy and hopes for all our new resolutions around this time of year only to be met with a slump in momentum around the end of February or early March. Oh, this doesn’t happen to you? Me neither. But just in case, it’s probably helpful to acknowledge that resolutions are hard to keep for many reasons, including distractions. Distractions are probably my personal biggest hurdle to completing or engaging in many of my goals and intentions, both short- and long-term. It’s okay though because I’m acknowledging this and working on it. One of the best ways to move onward and upward, especially in the post-holiday glow of the new year is to mitigate daily distractions by removing material clutter from our lives. Removing physical clutter from our day-to-day is a great first step to removing the larger and messier mental, emotional, and energetic clutter from our lives. Obviously, I’m not the only one who feels strongly about this as there are several branches of media that have successfully supplied all the de-clutter “before and after” shots your eyes could ever want. However, watching a wildly successful show on Netflix about decluttering your life may end up actually distracting you from the very activity and here we are still on the couch looking at our shelf of trinkets (again, just me? That’s okay). Especially, when I suspect all we really need is a little reminder and motivation to help get the clutter out and keep it out for 2021. There’s no time for clutter in 2021! Here are a few tips for getting the knickknacks out and keeping the trinkets at bay this year with less guilt!
Sometimes we find ourselves in this glorious place where we have quite a bit of energy and are ready to take on the clutter of our homes. Who knows, maybe it’s the exact right combination of caffeine, sunlight, and boredom. But whatever it is, let’s use this momentum to clean house. Sometimes after the initial activation energy of our task wears off we may come across a few items that hold more value than others - items we’d feel guilty parting with.
- Declutter Guilt -
Waste of Money Guilt: There are many reasons we may feel guilt about parting with items. It may be that we feel guilty about having wasted money on an item. You saw it, wanted it, bought it, and now realize it may not be the magical item you once thought it was. Here’s the thing though. You already spent the money. Whether you keep or toss that item, you won’t be offered a refund. Keeping the unused item in your house will only prolong the feeling of guilt. By selling or donating the unused item you would be not only decluttering your own precious space but would also be helping somebody else find a use for that item and cutting down on the waste/consumption cycle if they were to buy another similar item brand new.
No Longer Used Guilt: You may come across items that you once loved and used often, but that have also not seen much action in recent years. Sometimes getting rid of these items makes us feel guilty for abandoning previous hobbies and interests or longing to reconnect with those previous lives. However, these items also serve as great reminders that it’s okay to grow and change and move beyond these items. Donating these un- or under-used items helps others embrace these activities you once held so highly. This also allows you to make more room in your life (and home) for new activities and interests!
Gift Clutter Guilt: We all may be feeling this one a bit this time of year. The best way to avoid gift clutter guilt is to proactively stop it. Before your next birthday, anniversary, Galentine’s day, etc. explain to your #1 gift buddies that you’re attempting to have fewer things in your home. Offer up a list of experiential things you’d rather do with your favorite people. Honestly, there’s also nothing wrong with giving them a list of things you’d actually use. It may take the mystery out of gift-giving but it does provide a sense of usefulness and intention. Decluttering gifts you’ve already been given is a little harder but still just as achievable. Keep them around for a while. Show them off in a loving display to show the gifter your appreciation. But after a year, unless it now holds a place much bigger in my heart than just a very sweet gift from a friend, I move on and it moves out. Most people don’t hold a mental checklist of the items they give you and won’t likely even notice if the item they gifted you has been rotated out. And if they do, maybe they’ll stick to the gift wishlist next time.
Decluttering your home and your life can be hard, not just physically, but also (and especially) emotionally. But it really does help to grow onward and upward when we’re not weighed down by the items of our past, bogging down our progression and cluttering and distracting our minds. We often end up placing emotional energy on these household items, leaving little energy left to work on ourselves, dreams, interests, relationships, etc. We need to stop allowing these things to take up more space in our lives than just the shelf spaces they currently occupy. We can appreciate what they brought into our lives while also moving on from them, making room for more memories. Obviously, there are so many other tips and tricks out there to help you declutter your homes and lives and I really encourage you to look up which ways could help you best. 2021 is going to be a great year to take stock of what we have, want, and dream about - don’t let the clutter hold you back!