It’s easy to think that decluttering is for people who have a lot of stuff they don’t like. And while that is true, it’s also important to declutter when you love your stuff.
There are people who are hesitant to even start the decluttering process. They don’t like the concept of getting rid of things because they love their stuff.
The idea of sorting through everything and sending some of their stuff out of their home is tough. Some of this may be due to sentimental reasons but other people who are very practical simply enjoy their stuff and find that having a lot of it is useful or comforting.
There are a variety of reasons that people don’t let go of clutter. Regardless of the why people keep clutter, it’s good for everyone to declutter even when you love your stuff.
Why Declutter When You Love Your Stuff?
First, I need to say that decluttering is not about being forced to let go of things. When you love your stuff, the idea of decluttering is more intimidating, but know that you get to make the rules and set your goals in order to have the following benefits.
Helps you see where you have excess
People who love their stuff often end up with too much. When you are either emotionally attached or you think everything can be useful, there is a tendency to hang onto everything.
When you have too much stuff, it’s hard to locate items and often duplicates are purchased when things can’t be found. Decluttering allows you to see what you own.
The process of sorting your things and deciding what stays and what goes gives you a clearer picture of where you have excess. This may help you to be more willing to let things go when you see how much of it you have.
The process can also help save you money. When you see what you own, you’ll be reminded that you don’t need to buy a third toaster. Creating an awareness of what you own often changes your shopping habits.
Helps highlight what you really love
Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of all the things you love. It’s about clearing out the things you don’t love and use so that the things you love can shine.
Some may think but I love everything I own! But do you really? It is easy for that to become a reason that you don’t declutter anything. But in truth, very few people truly love and use everything they own.
Decluttering is a clarifying process. You gain a greater understanding of what you love and what’s most important to you.
Those things are able to be highlighted when the excess is cleared out of the way.
Helps solidify your goals
Your goals don’t have to be like anyone else’s. You don’t have to want to become a minimalist. You get to write your own rules and create your own goals.
That will look different for each person. You don’t have to want the same end goal for yourself or your home as anyone else.
Simplify what you want. Don’t simplify what you don’t want to. Learning to declutter when you love your stuff can be an added challenge, but as you set your unique goals you get to chart your own course.
If you are noticing hoarding tendencies in yourself, starting the decluttering process takes a bit more effort. When you love your stuff, you need to take a step back to see how you and your home are being negatively impacted by what you own. That will help you set your goals.
Helps you locate things more easily
When you own a lot of things, by nature it is more difficult to locate items in your home. Studies show that average Americans spend 2.5 days per year locating misplaced items.
When you own more stuff, that time would be even more. Do you find yourself often frustrated by not being able to locate something?
Decluttering allows you to let go of the excess but also to get your things more organized so you can more easily find what you own. No one wants to spend additional time and energy trying to locate items in their home. Decluttering helps limit that.
How to declutter when you love your stuff
So we’ve talked about why to declutter when you love your stuff, but now let’s look at how to start to declutter when you love your stuff.
Start with something easy
For some people there is a tendency to jump straight in with decluttering. That may not be as common though with people who love their stuff and may be feeling some hesitations.
Start with decluttering something that feels easy to you. Choose a type of item or a small area that has items that you don’t feel attached to.
Take the items out and sort them by type. Notice what you have that you didn’t even remembered your owned. Often people ask themselves why they’ve been hanging onto certain items for so long.
At this point, you decide what stays and what goes. After you are done with this first easy area, move on to another one. Go from easiest to most difficult as it’s easier to make decisions on the more challenging things when you’ve worked your way up to it.
Have clear criteria for making decisions
You get to decide on your own criteria for what stays and what goes. Initially, it may not be as easy to make decisions, but as you go it gets easier.
There are helpful questions you can ask in the decluttering process. Pick the questions that work the best for you to create your own criteria.
Having them written down can be helpful for when you get to items that are more difficult for you to make decisions on, like sentimental items. Sometimes you need to take a step back from your initial feelings of needing to keep everything and be more subjective.
Remind yourself of the goals you have for yourself and your home. Continue doing the work to help you get there.
Check in with your goals
The decluttering process isn’t about other people’s expectations and what anyone else wants for your life and home. You get to decide what is the right amount of stuff for your home.
Everyone has different comfort levels with stuff. Some people can live happily with a lot more things than other people can. The end goal is to feel like your home if comfortable and peaceful.
Keep reminding yourself though the decluttering process what your end goal is. It will help to continue to motivate you to do the work.
It’s fine to love the things you love as long as they aren’t negatively impacting your life. You can enjoy your books or Starbucks mug collection.
Decluttering is not about forcing you to let go of the things that you love. It’s about helping you be intentional with what you own and to provide clarity on what you should keep and what it’s time to let go of.
You can declutter when you love your stuff.
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I have been collecting House of Hatten ornaments since I was in my twenties, I’m fifty right now…you can imagine how many I have. I treasure each and every one of them but I haven’t put up a Christmas tree for many years for various reasons. It’s time to let them go. Your article has helped me to find a place to start and a reason to let these beloved items go. So I’m going to start slowly going through them and sending them off to my niece who is a collector of family memorabilia. I know she will love and cherish them as much as I have. Thank you for helping me find the path to lighten my load and gift a loved item to someone who will truly appreciate them.
I collected hand carved Santa’s for 20+ years. After retiring, I sold my home, most of my possessions and moved across country, and rented a studio apartment near my son and grandchildren. I gifted them the entire collection and it makes me incredibly happy to see my treasured Santa collection displayed every Christmas. Your niece will treasure ornaments! ❤️
Maybe go through your collection and decide. You don’t need to let go of them if you cherish them and they bring you joy, but at least it will be a decision at that point.
Also, be careful as giving them to your niece might cause a strain on your relationship. She might not value them as much as you did and feel she has to keep them just for you which is not really fair to her. Be prepared to be fine with it if she lets them go as well.
Also, take photos of them before you let them go! I found this to be a great comfort to me knowing I can always see a photo of my treasures to remind me of them.
I started decluttering/downsizing right after I retired five years ago. I went through every drawer, closet, cabinet, decorations, furniture, clothes, etc., and purged. It felt good. I asked my children first what items they would like after I was gone and then I started purging; some items I sold, gave away or took to Goodwill. There was less dusting. Plus I found that I actually liked the look of having less. As time goes on, the purging process does as well. From a person who had a lot of “stuff”, I’ve decided I like the new me. Less is best, and I am sure our children will appreciate it when they have to go through everything after we are gone!
After having gone through our parents home, multiple times, I definitely want to pare down the size of that job for my loved ones when I’m gone. When I’m having trouble with the process that is always my motivation. I love (usually) knowing where all of my stuff is now too!!!! We were a family of ‘buy again because we couldn’t find’….. not anymore!
I have an extensive art glass collection–primarily the work of two artists who I’ve known and been close friends with for nearly two decades now. Recently I realized I was ready to start downsizing the collection. I love all the pieces I have, but I have more than I have room to display and while I do rotate pieces, I tend to go back to the same ones over and over. As I’ve thinned the collection, I’ve found myself enjoying it more. And, like others have mentioned, it’s lovely to know pieces I’ve loved are now gracing other people’s homes with their beauty–where it can be seen and enjoyed rather than sitting in the back of a closet, out of sight and nearly forgotten. Curation, keeping only the best.