Sooner or later in the decluttering process, you come across an item that you do not love nor use anymore, yet can’t bring yourself to discard. There are several reasons for this. Here are seven of the most common reasons:
1. Perfectionism: We believe we cannot make the perfect decision about this item, (e.g. What if I throw it away and need it later? What if I can’t find a place at which to recycle it?) so we end up making no decision at all.
2. Helpfulness: We may be able to help someone and save the day by having just the item that he or she needs.
3. Anthropomorphize: We kind of feel sorry for the item for discarding it, so we don’t discard it. Maybe this item has been with you through thick and thin and it would be doing it a dishonor by simply throwing it in the trash.
4. Proof of Love: Greeting cards, letters and gifts are all indicators that someone loves or loved us.
5. Identity: We reason that if we have a lot of craft supplies, then we are crafty people. If we have lots of books, then we’re intellectuals. The items represent a part of ourselves that we want to believe is an authentic part of ourselves.
6. Past Memories: An item represents something we want to remember in our past, and we are afraid we will not remember the event if we get rid of the item.
7. Boundaries: Particularly with collections, we don’t stop collecting, even when we run out of space. We figure if a few are good, a lot is better.
Take a look around one room of your choice, maybe even a room you have already decluttered, and make sure that every item – and I mean every item – is something you use or something you love. If you find something there that does not meet that criteria, see if one of these seven reasons is the culprit.
My appreciation to Sandra Felton, founder of Messies Anonymous, for supplying me with this list.