When it’s time to let go, we think of all kinds of reasons why we should hold on.
Decluttering excuses allow us hold on to stuff we don’t need. If you struggle to let go (and most of us do), you might find yourself using one or more of the following decluttering excuses. I’ve used them all! Maybe you have too.
5 Decluttering Excuses for Holding on to Stuff You Don’t Need
1. I might need that someday.
This is a lie I told myself over and over again. I still catch myself doing it. What I’ve realized though is that most of the time, just in case means never. This excuse (for the most part) is how we procrastinate letting go.
If this is your favorite excuse, I recommend creating a just in case box. As you are decluttering and come across things you want to save just in case, put it in the box. When the box is full, seal it and hide it. Get it out of sight. Set a reminder to donate the box in 90 days. Chances are you won’t miss it or remember what’s inside.
2. I want my stuff to go to a good home.
I struggled with this one at first but not for long. I just knew that I could do more good in the world once all of the excess was gone. I didn’t want to get hung up on where each thing went because I knew that would only delay the process. Find a place to sell or donate your things that is “good enough” and stop filling all the spaces after you let go. It’s the repetitive cycle of buy-declutter-buy-declutter that is depleting our resources and filling us with guilt for needlessly spending and searching for fulfillment in the wrong places.
3. It’s not hurting anyone.
This was one of my favorite excuses to hold on. I wrote the following about letting go of some of my sentimental items in Soulful Simplicity, “In an effort to hold on tight, I thought, “It’s not hurting anything or anyone to keep this stuff.” Then I remembered that I want my quality of life to be more in line with “How is this helping?” instead of “How is this not hurting?” I wanted to create an environment that allowed me to be fully present. Once I identified why I wanted to let it all go, the paper and plastic stuff that made up my memories didn’t have a hold on me or my heart anymore. Now, instead of capturing moments and boxing them up, I embrace and absorb them. The next time you think, “It’s not hurting.” ask “How is it helping?”
4. My children might want this.
They really don’t. If you don’t believe me, ask them. And then believe them.
5. I paid so much for that.
One popular excuse for holding on to clothing and other stuff is “I paid so much for that” but holding on to something because you paid for it once will only ensure that you keep paying.
- You will pay with your money. You already paid for it once, but you’ll continue to pay by insuring it, storing it, organizing it and on and on and on.
- You will pay with your time and attention. Cleaning, organizing and thinking about your stuff takes time. It distracts you from things that matter more.
- You will pay with your heart. This is the worst payment of all. You pay with emotion, by holding onto the past, by punishing yourself for old habits. You pay with guilt, anger, and indecision.
Let it go. Let go of the item and all of the costs attached to it. You have paid enough.
Decluttering and letting go for good is a challenging process. Pay attention to your decluttering excuses, the lessons, and the lightness you feel on the other side. You’ll learn so much about yourself and how you want to move through the world.