I was catching up with a friend recently who told me that, since we had last seen each other, she had undergone a big purge at her home and had mixed feelings about the results.
While it was a relief to let go of many of the items that were taking up space, she also had regrets about some things that, in hindsight, she wishes she would have kept.
What if I need this in the future?
This situation is one of the worst-case-scenarios that runs through people's minds when decluttering. Unfortunately, this fear can hold a lot of people back from making meaningful progress.
So how do we make progress in the face of fear over potential decluttering regrets? Read on for my decluttering tips that will help declutter with confidence.
Don't Try to Declutter All At Once
Some popular ideas about decluttering seem to put pressure on doing everything at once. You don't need to declutter all at once to make progress, even if you aspire to minimalism. Actually, in my experience, I believe you get better results by "peeling off the layers."
We went through several purges in my household over two years before we got to the equilibrium that we are at now. If I tried to get where I am now on the first go, I definitely wouldn't have been ready. While I craved more and more space, I had to get used to it gradually. And along the way, I had to increase my emotional capacity to let go of things that weren't serving me.
Give yourself the chance to get used to living with less, digest the changes you're making, and let your values sink in so you don't backslide into filling up space, or feel resentful when you can't do that.
Pay Attention to Your Energy
Does an item give you energy or is it taking it? If it's draining your energy, it's clutter. Your home is the place where you need to be able to rest and replenish your energy - so if you surround yourself with items that are doing the opposite, it's not going to feel like the safe space that you need it to be. So if you're paying attention to what's happening with your energy when you confront an item, rather than try to work out your decision in your mind, it's hard to go wrong.
Believe in Your Ability to Provide for Yourself
One of the reasons why people can hang onto excessive duplicates and other "backups" is because on some level they fear that in the future they won't be able to meet their needs in some way. Items that you keep around for this reason reflect this fear of the future back to you. If you are committed to changing your mindset around this limiting belief, decluttering these items can be a powerful way to affirm your confidence in the future.
Remember Why You Made that Choice
I got rid of my blow dryer several years ago and once and a while, especially on a cold morning, I kick myself about it. But then I remember that it took up a lot of space in our small bathroom, and it took up a lot of time in my morning, and I become grateful for how laid back my routine is now. I also appreciate comments from my hair stylist about how healthy my hair is since I don't heat style it. It was a bold choice to let it go, but ultimately I'm glad I did because the pros are outweighing the cons.
Let It Go
Sometimes you can't remember and appreciate why you chose to declutter something, and you're left with genuine regret. There have been times that my husband and I remember that we decluttered something and we're like "doh." But guess what? I can't even think of any specific examples to give you in this blog post right now because they were so minor in the grand scheme of life. We're so grateful for the lifestyle change that we've made that we've made peace with the few casualties.
Our needs are always changing, and it's impossible to anticipate everything, so of course, there are no guarantees. Hopefully, you won't have too many regrets about decluttering, and your pros will outweigh your cons. Following the above guidelines will help you declutter with confidence.
With Love & Gratitude,