How do you feel about this list?
As much as I enjoy the posts and blogs from "becoming minimalist", the response generated by lists like these reminds me why I avoid black and white ‘rules’ of decluttering.
The real problem with these lists is they don’t consider the underlying reasons why people hold onto things. Without taking the time, energy and thought to understand why clutter is accumulating, chances are high that it will either simply build up again, or that you’ll feel upset about throwing things away.
In the years I spent overwhelmed with ‘stuff’, the lists, top tips and glossy magazine ideas I read about decluttering tended to amplify the problem rather than help. The assumption underlying these pieces seemed to be that if I just spent a little bit of time throwing away x, y and z or buying a new basket for a, b and c, all my stuff would magically resolve itself into neatly ordered beauty. Not surprisingly, that never happened.
Of course, it may work for some people, and if it works for you then jump right in and clear your spaces.
BUT, if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay.
Oversimplified notions of decluttering may not only make you feel worse, they can be detrimental if your underlying reasons for keeping clutter relate to anxiety, feelings of overwhelm or hopelessness, past traumas, scarcity mindset or a myriad other factors.
Suggesting to someone who is struggling with letting go that they just “throw away anything you haven’t used in three months” is likely to have them running straight back to bury themselves further in clutter or escaping the issue altogether.
So, if lists like these only raise your levels of anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or overwhelm, then take heart in knowing you are not alone. There is another way.