You might not actually be afraid of your good china or childhood teddy bear, but clutter can be scary. The scariest part is usually letting go. Letting go of stuff becomes so much easier once you let go of the fear of living without it. I can tell you from personal experience, that in the past few years of selling and donating more than 50% of my stuff, I’ve never once missed anything I let go of, or regretted my decision to give something away. In fact, each thing I let go of gave me momentum and confidence to let the next thing go.
Busting your biggest clutter fears
I’m afraid I’ll have to buy it again. Face this fear by looking at what you use on a daily basis. Most likely, you own much more than you actually use. If you do need to use a special gardening tool once in a blue moon, borrow it or buy it when you need it. Don’t save it “just in case”. You might also keep multiples of things because you are afraid you will lose the one you use. Trust yourself to take care of a few pens, or spoons, or lipsticks and replace when you need to. Even better, try to use just one.
I’m afraid that if I let go of something sentimental that I will forget the memory. Your memories and the people you love are not in your stuff. That said, if something brings back fond memories, take a picture of it, frame it and put it on your wall. This way you can share your memory instead of stuffing it in a box, because you don’t have a place for it.
I’m afraid my stuff won’t go to the right place. You can make sure that your stuff is appreciated when you let it go by donating it to people or organizations. Donate clothing to a homeless shelter. Donate books to a hospital, school or retirement home. Place larger items on craigslist or other classified sites. Recycle items when you can.
I’m afraid I won’t have anything left to give my children. All your children will want from you is your love. Give them peace of mind and loving support instead of the responsibility of taking care of your stuff. If they are older, ask them if they want anything. If they say no, don’t be hurt. They love you, not your stuff.
I’m afraid getting rid of my stuff will take a lot of work. It will take work and effort, but what it will pay you back in time and energy will make you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
I’m afraid people will think I am weird or ungrateful because I keep giving things way. Some people will think that. Some people thought you were weird before. It’s not your job to please everyone. It’s not your job to convince everyone that you are doing the right thing. Lead by example. Let your happiness and kindness demonstrate that you are living your life just as you should.
I’m afraid that I wasted money on things and giving stuff away is like money down the drain. That may be a harsh reality but holding onto those things, and continuing to spend money, time and energy on them is only perpetuating the fear and guilt. Let it go, and think more carefully about your purchases moving forward.