Updated: Jan 25
One of the most important things I have learned through the years is that the problem with a cluttered home isn’t the stuff in it. It’s the lies we tell ourselves that keep us from letting them go. The way we justify our bad habits, make excuses for the mess and trick ourselves into believing that a clean, peaceful home isn’t possible is ultimately what holds us back.
The biggest hurdle you need to overcome in your decluttering journey is YOU.
Yes, purging through boxes and cleaning out closets is important. But it can all be done in vain if you don’t have a strong mindset to see it through for the long haul. Illogical thinking can hold us back from achieving lasting results and stop us from enjoying the type of home we all deserve – one in which we can laugh, love and live
Ever seen the TV show Hoarders?
If you have ever watched more than one episode of the TV show “Hoarders” you have probably noticed an underlying theme that runs through each purge – the homeowner must make the decisions. This often becomes a tug-of-war between the hoarder and their family as they struggle to get rid of even the smallest of things. But the professional organizers from the show always stress the importance of teaching them the skills to manage and let go of their possessions.
Now maybe you aren’t at the level of “Hoarders” (or maybe you are), but a valuable lesson can be learned from how they run things — you must change your mindset before you can change your home.
Ten Lies We Tell Ourselves that Keep Our Homes a Mess
While working with clients and even in my home, I have noticed many of the same recurring themes when it comes to the illogical thinking that holds us back. Below are the some of the most frequent ones I hear along with tips on how to finally overcome them.
1. My life is too busy right now. I couldn’t possibly add a decluttering project to my hectic schedule.
Try this instead: Yes, my life is busy but creating a less stressful, cleaner home will help me manage it more efficiently. I will enjoy less time searching for lost or misplaced things and more time on the important stuff. Going forward, I will dedicate ___ (insert time – ie 15 min.) each day to decluttering my home.
2. Although I don’t have time now, I plan on enjoying ____ (insert activity) someday.
Try this instead: Where does this activity fall into my life? If I haven’t done it in the last five years will I really do it in the next five? Am I holding on to this item because I am holding on to who I want to be rather than who I really am? Could these ____ (insert supplies, equipment, etc) better serve someone who actively engages in the activity?
3. This ____ (insert article of clothing) will come back in style one day.
Try this instead: Yes, this item could come back into style but do I want to take up precious space in my closet until it does? Is it worth hanging on to if it means giving up a clutter-free closet? If this trend comes back around, I can easily visit a store or thrift store and purchase a few new pieces that I will love.
4. I spent a lot of money on this item. There is no way I can let it go.
Try this instead: It’s time for me to cut my losses and let this item go. Yes, I spent a lot of money on this item but, if it doesn’t serve a purpose “now”, it should go to someone who can enjoy it. Keeping it in my home only increases the amount of resources and time I am dedicating to it.
5. I love to collect ____ (insert item) and I couldn’t possibly part with a single one.
Try this instead: I only have room for so many pieces of my collection. I will purge my collection of any pieces that do not fit in my space. By minimizing my collection, I allow my most loved pieces to shine.
6. This item will be worth something someday.
Try this instead: The reality is that very few things increase in value through the years. I will check recent sales for this item on eBay within ____ (insert time period ie one week) and will then decide if it is worth selling. If not, I will donate this item.
7. Even though I don’t use it very much, everyone needs a ____ (insert item).
Try this instead: The only things I truly need are food, shelter and water. I will decide now whether or not I need this item. If I am not sure, I will pack up this item and store it for _____ (insert period of time). If I do not pull it out in that time, I will donate or sell that item.
Need help? My post titled “Why I Got Rid of My Toaster” is a great example of why we should question those “essentials” which surround us.
8. You never know when you may need ____ (insert item).
Try this instead: I have not found a need for this item in ____ (insert period of time). This tells me I probably won’t need it in the future either. If I do need this item, I can easily borrow or buy one.
9. I want to pass this _____ (insert item) down to my children someday.
Try this instead: My children probably will not want this item. I will pick out a few favorite heirlooms and keep only those most treasured to hand down to my children. I will also ask them what things they would like to have rather than just assuming.
Need help? Read this article.
10. I will never achieve a clutter-free home.
Try this instead: I will have a clutter-free home and sooner than I ever dreamed possible! I will take small steps each day to achieve this goal. If I have a setback, I will see it as a learning experience and continue on my journey. I deserve to enjoy my home!
Never Give Up
Never give up on your desire to have a clean living space. It is achievable — I promise! The key to success is to adjust your attitude before you begin. Don’t let the lies you tell yourself distract you from the ultimate prize – a peaceful, enjoyable home.