As a professional organizer, I think I have heard every excuse there could possibly be for the excess clutter that people have in their homes. While I am not there to judge their situation, I do often have to provide some tough love. That often means facing your excuses head on. If you don’t realize the excuses you are hiding behind, then making a long lasting change will be almost impossible. Here are the top five excuses I hear when working with clients; I am curious which ones you will relate to.
1. I might need it one day
Maybe you will! But, it’s very likely that you won’t…especially if you haven’t used it in the past year…or sometimes in the past several years. What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you did let it go? You have to weigh the cost of the prime real estate that that bread maker, or deep fryer, or crafting gadget is taking up and make a decision. One way that our family keeps the clutter down is by borrowing items that we don’t use very often. We don’t all have to own everything – things like camping gear, party items, and tools, can be shared and borrowed.
2. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or seem ungrateful
This is a tough one. We have many clients whose homes are overflowing, simply because they’ve kept everything that was ever given to them or passed down to them. A lot of times they just need someone to tell them, it’s ok to let it go. Ask yourself if you love it, if you need it, if you use it. If not, it’s ok to make a decision, do what’s right for you, and free up some valuable living space in your home.
3. It was free!
Or was it? Is your cabinet now overflowing with free coffee mugs and you can’t find the one you really like to use? Do you get frustrated in the morning looking for your cosmetics because the drawer is loaded with free sample products? Is your child in sensory overload because of the ridiculous amount of toys that were passed down to them? Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to take it. Or, take it and consider donating it to someone who could actually use it. If it’s causing stress and taking up valuable space, it wasn’t free.
4. It was expensive or might be worth something
We often work with people who have called us out of sheer necessity. Perhaps they have to be out of their home in two weeks, or maybe their spouse is fed up, or their world is simply spinning out of control. In most of these circumstances, there is no time for a garage sale, or to post the items on Craigslist or EBay. You will rarely get back what you paid for something and this can be hard to swallow. However, if you have the time and the resources, we absolutely recommend consignment stores, garage sales, and selling your items on Craigslist. You just have to be realistic about how much you can get. If the idea of organizing your items for sales sounds too overwhelming, bless a local thrift store with your donations and get a nice tax receipt.
5. It has too many memories
Kids artwork, travel memorabilia, trophies…all of these things take up lots of space! We recommend taking digital pictures of as many of these things as possible. You can still have a photo of the item for reference or reminiscing, but you don’t have to keep the item itself. Let your memories be heart attachments, not physical attachments. If you keep everything, then nothing has real value. What are the treasures? Pick out a few and honor them.