A tidy and organized home -- it all starts with a good edit.
The act of letting go and getting rid of items that no longer serve you can be freeing and cleansing for both the home and the spirit.
However, the process can also be extremely overwhelming and guilt-inducing with the wrong mindset. Don’t worry, SortJoy is here to help! Let’s review some helpful points to keep in mind when you just can’t let go of the items that are holding you back.
You are Not Alone
Take comfort that letting go of belongings is difficult for most people, especially at the start, but there's hope! Once you learn how to separate what is irreplaceable, what brings you joy, what has a functional purpose in your life with everything else - it becomes fun to flex that newly found muscle and say goodbye to your unwanted clutter.
Follow our Tips for Choosing What to Edit
If you need some basic criteria for choosing what to let go, take a glance over at one of our posts on Editing Your Belongings. This is a great start when you’re tackling your organization project. Start by taking action on what is easy. This is a fantastic way to get some momentum going and feel accomplished. However, I am here to say that getting rid of the easy stuff is not what this article is about.
Don’t Overthink it!
Okay, you’ve trashed that drawer of pens that don’t work and donated those clothes your kids have grown out of. Great job, celebrate those wins! But now you’ve come across an item sparking inner conflict. Maybe it’s a sweater your aunt gave you but you never wear; maybe it’s an expensive cookbook you keep meaning to use but never have; an object you “could maybe need someday” but has lived in your closet for years without seeing the light of day. Our biggest rule: don’t overthink it! Go with your intuition, follow your gut’s reaction and embrace the release of staying the course. No material thing will bring you more value than learning to listen to your gut. If you are still struggling with this, remember that if you are not sure about an item, it’s probably one you should get rid of.
Sentimental Items - Is it the Item or Just the Memory You Care About?
Jumping on the sentimental bandwagon, items that hold memories and meaning can be particularly difficult to deal with while editing. Here is where you really need to be honest but realistic with yourself - and it helps to sprinkle some creativity over everything along the way. Some questions we find helpful in sentimental scenarios are:
Does this item hold joy for me or is it the memory associated with this item?
Can I hold onto the joy of those memories within me or do I need the object itself?
Is there guilt/feelings surrounding this item that I can address in my physical life?
Can I recreate or reinvent the joy of the item(s) without having it take up so much space?
Because guess what, items break and get lost anyway. You can downsize while still saving your children’s elementary school artwork (it takes a good scanner and a creative photobook). You can decide to call your aunt to see how she’s doing instead of keeping that old sweater she gave you but you never wear. And you can better cherish items you do want to keep by displaying them rather than keeping them stuffed in a box under your bed.
Revisiting: What to do if you Still Can’t Make a Decision
If you’re still not sure about an item and can’t land on a solid yes or no, keep or toss, take a breath and remind yourself decluttering is not a destination but a journey. You do not need to be perfect. It is okay to create another category besides toss and donate. We like to call this category: Revisit. It is okay not to know just at a moment’s glance what you want to do. But you will need to create an intentional system to revisit and reevaluate what you want to do in these cases. Maybe create a space where you keep these items to revisit where you can see them daily and in a week’s time, sit down with these objects again. Perhaps put these items away in a labeled box and create a reminder in a month to donate if you haven’t thought about or touched anything inside the box within that time. This step is not one size fits all, but you must create a thoughtful and scheduled intention for the next steps.
Organizing and decluttering is not a sprint but a marathon - creating new habits and staying accountable is the only way you’re going to achieve your goal of a clutter-free, stress-free space.