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Organizing

We Finally Know Why It's Hard to Let Go of Clutter

Are you the type who reminisces while organizing cabinets?

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Photography: Unsplash

Every time I declutter my room, I’m guilty of one thing—I tend to look back at the olden days, thinking about when I got one item or the fond memories attached to an old dress or shirt. Apparently, this is a major reason why it’s difficult for many of us to get rid of things. According to an article posted by NBC News Better, “our desire to hold onto piles of old mementos can often be blamed on nostalgia. That’s because reminiscing about the past makes us feel good.” The article notes that we have the tendency to be nostalgic about happier days especially when we’re going through hard times.


Aside from nostalgia, there’s another big reason why a box filled with items for sorting is still in your room. “The biggest one is our need for safety, security, and stability. You may think, ‘I’ve used this tool one time and I may never use it again—but what if I need it in the future? I want to be able to have that thing at that time to address that need,’” Dr. Niles shares in the article. Still have the set of old markers from college? How about the French press you haven’t used in a year? Dr. Niles suggests identifying the things “that if we didn’t have them, the world wouldn’t fall apart.”

We have to agree, it’s difficult to let go of things with sentimental value and it can be nerve-racking to discard items that might be useful in the future. How can you declutter successfully? Here are tips to consider:

Focus on the present.

Is your old pair of shoes adding value to your life right now or is it gathering dust in the closet? Can it still be used by others? Prioritize the things you need and make space for belongings that can make your life easier.

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Take notes from the KonMari method.

The well-received hack of Marie Kondo that involves picking up an item and asking yourself “does this spark joy?” may come in handy as you go through your belongings. Don’t overthink it and trust your instincts. If you think that an item will only eat up valuable space and you won’t be needing it anytime soon, say goodbye to it.

READ: The Magic of the KonMari Method

Don’t stress yourself by decluttering the whole day.

Are you willing to organize the whole day? To avoid feeling overwhelmed and to make sure you go through your belongings efficiently, allot at least three to five hours of your day to decluttering. You can do it per room so you get to cover all bases at home.


Do it quarterly.

You’ll be surprised at how much new things we can accumulate in a month. To make sure we have enough space for things that matter, schedule a decluttering session at the end of each quarter. Of course, you can still work on quick cleaning sessions every month. Make it your goal to have an organized closet or a neat storage room that’s free from clutter.

Donate.

Are you the type who instantly throws away things? While discarding things and ending up with a full trash bin can make one feel light and great, it doesn’t have to be the only outcome of your decluttering session. See if there are things you can donate and give to others. Clothes that are still in good condition, shoes, toys, books, and even functional appliances will be welcomed by others with open arms.

READ: 6 Places to Bring Your De-cluttered Home Items

Source: NBC News Better

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