Decluttering is all the rage these days. Everyone’s talking about things they need to get rid of and thrift stores are overwhelmed by the amount of donations.
We’re all eager to have a clean, simplified home that we love and enjoy. And a big part of getting there is getting rid of stuff we don’t need or no longer serves it’s purpose.
In this post, I’ll talk about the #1 decluttering myth and how you can avoid it.
The #1 myth people believe about decluttering
The most important part of decluttering is not this:
So often, we think that decluttering is only about getting rid of stuff. Sure, it feels great to see the old stuff go out the door and welcome the empty spaces it leaves behind.
But that’s missing a giant part of the equation:
Decluttering is not only about what goes out —
It’s also about what comes in.
Think about it. Let’s say you lost five pounds in October, but gained 10 pounds over the holidays. Would you say that you lost weight? No, of course not.
Even though you did technically lose five pounds, turning around and gaining ten means you ended up weighing more in the end.
The same is true for decluttering. If you get rid of a lot of things but don’t get control over what is coming in to your house, you won’t acheive the lifelong results you’re hoping for.
This concept was lost on me for years. In the winter, we’d declutter and get rid of what felt like half the house only to turn around and go garage sale shopping all summer.
I’m a huge fan of garage sales as a means of saving money and getting to know your local area. But our weekly hobby of shopping at garage sales during the summer led us to buy too many things that we didn’t really need or never ended up using.
As soon as we stopped shopping at garage sales, we noticed the flow of clutter into our home greatly decrease.
How to stop the flow of incoming clutter
The truth is you have to set systems in place to cut down on clutter before it enters the front door. Ask yourself these simple questions?
- Is this something that I need or want?
- What am I going to do with this item?
- When am I going to use this item?
- Seriously, am I really actually going to use this item? Okay, when? Schedule it right now.
Be honest with yourself. Don’t buy something because you think you MIGHT use it in the future. Don’t save an item unless you know exactly when you’ll use it.
So often, we don’t know the answer to these questions, so our brains go blank and we say we’ll deal with it later. That feels satisfying, because it feels like you’re making a decision. In reality, you’re assuming the decision will be easier to make in the future. It won’t.
Be firm on the types of items you will and will not allow into your home. Just like everything else in life, this takes time to learn and you will make mistakes. When you do, pick up the pieces and try again…and again.
Decluttering is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Just like you can’t go to the gym one time and expect to be a world-class athlete, you can’t expect to be a decluttering expert right at the beginning.