Organizing When Letting Go is Hard & 5 questions to ask yourself about items to help
You’re all set to organize a room in your home. You’ve watched Marie Kondo on Netflix. You have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to organization, and you have enough supplies to open a mini-container store. But when you get to work, despite all your prep, an hour later you find yourself in a bigger mess than you started with and with a pile of items you forgot you had that you feel you just have to keep. I mean, who knows when you will need Grandma’s old VHS player?
Trust me, we have all been there. When one of the first steps of an organization project is to let go of old items, many people find themselves feeling defeated and closing the door on a newly created mess.
Let’s face it, letting go can be extremely hard. The process is mentally and physically draining and often times causes anxiety and a sense of helplessness. While it may feel hopeless or even impossible, understanding why letting go is hard and the reasons you may be holding on can make the process much easier!
Here are 5 of the top reasons people have a hard time with letting go:
- Items have sentimental value
Oftentimes, items remind us of memories or people in our lives. This can make it difficult when you go through the boxes of art work your child did in elementary school or your old t-shirts from college.
Try to remind yourself that letting go of an item doesn’t make the memories lose value or disappear. While holding on to every item that is attached to a memory is unrealistic, it is okay to keep some! I suggest a “one box” rule. The point of mementos is to enjoy them. If you have too many, going through them feels like a chore rather than a joy. If you keep your absolute favorite mementos in one box, you create the opportunity to go through them whenever you decide to add something to the box. When the box is full, you must go through and decide what holds the most value to make sure you are only keep the most precious items.
- Creating “what ifs”
“What if I need it one day?”or “What if it fits again?”or “What if I could fix it?”or “What if my brother’s wife’s friend could use this?” Ever played this game? Playing the “what if” game is like a dangerous never-ending loophole. DO NOT GET CAUGHT! Almost any item you pick up could be attached to a “what if.” It’s hard but try to stay in the moment. What is your first instinct on the item? And what is the reality of keeping it?
- Feelings of Guilt
Ever kept a gift just because you felt guilty about getting rid of it, even though you hide it in a closet to only maybe use it when the gift giver is present? I think we have all been there. I always push my clients to think about if they would care or even remember if someone didn’t keep a gift they gave. If your sister did not keep a candle you gave her because she couldn’t stand the smell, would you notice? Would you want someone to hold on to something just because you gave it to them? Most of the time the answer is no. Try to remember that just because we get rid of a gift doesn’t mean we are not appreciative or dismissive of the person’s care for you. It is okay to not love or value something someone else gives you.
- Attaching dreams to stuff
Sometimes letting go of an item feels like giving up on a dream. You may be keeping boxes of craft supplies because you really want to do all the DIY projects you find online. You keep old jeans from college, even though they are out of style, because you want them to fit again. You keep lots of cook books you have never opened because one day you want to learn to be a better cook. This is where it becomes super important to be honest with yourself. Even though it’s hard, it isn’t worth keeping materialistic items that contribute to the clutter that is overwhelming you. Try putting an expiration date on items. If you have not used the item by that date (I usually suggest a year), you have to let it go.
- Feeling overwhelmed
This is seriously one of the main reasons people cannot get rid of items. Walking into a space that needs some serious organizational help can be overwhelming and can feel seemingly impossible to find a starting point. Try breaking it down into a manageable sized task! One rule of thumb I always tell my clients is “If it can be done in 5 minutes, do it.” Also, don’t be embarrassed to call in some help! Whether it’s from a friend, family, or using a professional organizer, having the accountability, encouragement, and assistance can move mountains.
Sometimes, the hardest part of organizing is knowing where to start! Feel free to contact one of our professional organizers and we can help! Email: Orderupdesign@gmail.com Call: 678-799-5147