‘Unpack’ clutter clearing strategies

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

This is part two of a two-part series.

Where in your home are you most challenged when it comes to clutter? Most people have one or both of two types of clutter challenges: trouble letting things go or a lack of organization. This week:

If you have too many things, focus on letting them go.

If you feel disorganized, focus on getting more organized.

If you a little bit of both, do both; focus on letting things go and becoming more organized.

Strategies for letting things go

Most people will find that they have clutter in some areas of the home and need to let go of some things. The following will address some common obstacles and challenges that typically come up when decluttering, and a strategy to deal with them.

Obstacle No. 1: ‘It was a gift’ strategy

See the item as an object, not a gift. When you are sifting through the gifts you’ve been given, ask yourself the following: “Do I love, use or need this item?” If your answer is no, depending on its condition, you can sell, donate, re-gift or discard the item. Keep your focus on the intent to declutter.

Obstacle No. 2: ‘I might need this later’ strategy

Decide exactly when that would be. When you see something that you don’t use and immediately think, “I may need this someday,” ask yourself, “Realistically, when will I need or use this?” If you can’t come up with a specific date, assign a date six months from now, put the items in a box, and write the date on the outside of the box. If “someday” (the date on the box) comes and you haven’t used those items, let them go.

Obstacle No. 3: ‘I paid a lot of money for this’ strategy

Accept that keeping the item will not minimize your guilt or increase the item’s value. Accept your losses and move on. If you subconsciously feel guilty for spending so much for — and not using — the item, the guilt won’t help you start using it, nor will it increase its value. In fact, keeping the item perpetuates the guilt. Let it go and you will feel so much better.

Obstacle No. 4: ‘Someday I’ll have a garage sale and sell the item’ strategy

Find an alternative home for the item. I see “garage sale syndrome” often. For some people, a garage sale works, but for others, it is an excuse not to act. While garage sales are a way to turn your things into cash, ask yourself if the mental, emotional and time burden is worth it for you.

If letting go is difficult for you, a garage sale may be difficult. Instead, find a charity to donate your items to, then schedule a pick up date at the soonest opportunity.

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@yourhappinessu.com. Alice Inoue owns Happiness U, a lifestyle studio located at SALT Kakaako where anyone can find positive inspiration and high-level guidance to minimize stress and optimize modern day life! YourHappinessU.com.