Today’s blog post is a question that was raised in a prior session of Quick & Simple Clutter Control. I think it demonstrates an excellent point:  when it comes to decluttering all things are not created equal.

Question mark Aby – I have really noticed while working on this session that I don’t have a consistent approach to decluttering. Some things I can easily let go of and others I can’t seem to. The other day I purchased a whole bunch of new dish towels as ours were looking pretty tired. After I washed up the new ones and went to throw the old ones out I had a hard time throwing them. I am not sure why I struggle with this – I guess this isn’t really a question, just a statement that I have hopeless moments with decluttering at times.

Here was my reply:  Some of the content from the Organizing 101 workshop (especially, the lesson on roadblocks) might help you pinpoint what is going on here. My guess is that deep down you are struggling with the fact that these items are still useful, and so it’s hard to let them go. But, the reason you decided to replace them is because you don’t love how they look anymore, so they don’t make you feel great anymore. I bet letting go of them would feel good.

Dish towels

Around here you can donate old towels to the Humane Society. I wonder if finding a good happy home for these still useful items would help you let go.

As a general statement, decluttering isn’t a linear process. There are hills and valleys. Sometimes we’re climbing up the hill and sometimes we’re sailing down the hill and it’s lots of fun! It’s okay and natural if some things are easier to let go of than others. Some things simply have a stronger pull on us than others.

It is for this reason that I recommend that when you’re starting out on your decluttering journey, you start with the easy stuff—the items that don’t have a strong pull on your heartstrings. This will allow you to make progress and enjoy the great feelings and sense of relief that comes from decluttering. This in turn fuels your motivation to keep decluttering. Over time, many of the items that once seemed hard to let go of become easier.

But…there will always be items that tug at our heartstrings stronger than others. When you get to the root cause of why an item has a hold on you (or as I like to say, when you figure out what your roadblock is) then you can develop strategies that make it easier to let go.

Have you noticed this, too—that some things are easier to let go of than others? Which items most tug at your heartstrings when decluttering?

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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