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Episode 242 – How to overcome decluttering roadblocks

It's fair to say undertaking a decluttering project is not always straightforward. Often there are roadblocks that appear and stop us in our tracks. In today's podcast we're going to talk about some of these roadblocks and how to overcome them.

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We’ve all been there.

We tackled a room that was packed with clutter that we didn’t need. We have no clue where all that stuff came from in the first place. But now, it’s all sorted, the things we no longer want have been donated and we are feeling the calm instead of the chaos. Perfect!

Fast forward a couple of months and we are back to square one. How on earth did that happen? Stuff has started to creep back into our home and we feel out of control and surrounded by chaos and clutter once again.

Decluttering can be a life changing process, and it’s so important to tackle the ‘stuff’ but it's important that we start to shift our mindset too.

When we focus on our mindset, slowly but surely, we will stop bringing things into our homes that we don't need.

The first step in shifting that mindset is looking at our shopping behaviours. When we shop, we are often at the mercy of clever marketeers and sales assistants. Control is taken away from us and we bow to sales pressure. And then we start to bring things into our homes that we don’t need and the clutter starts to build. It sounds simple but when and how can we avoid self sabotage?

Beware the bargain

Who doesn’t love a bargain? Car boot sales, garage sales, yard sales and charity shops can be a minefield if you love the thrill of a sale. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you need it. Intentional shopping often goes right out of the window when temptation is in your way. If you are on a decluttering mission, bargain hunting is one to avoid.

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You may tend to overinflate the value of what you have, thinking it’s worth more to you than it actually is. You’re reluctant to let go of things because they ‘might come in handy one day’ or they’re ‘perfectly good’. Scarcity thinking comes from us unconsciously repeating a story about lack that we’ve learned sometime in our life. This can be either from our own experience or our family’s experiences.

Don’t cave in to upselling

If you are shopping and offered free gifts when you buy extra things, be careful. Sample sizes and free gifts are never really needed and can really add to the clutter.

Avoid fixating on freebies

How many times have you picked up free sauces, salt, straws and napkins from takeaways and fast food chains? More often than not they stay sitting on your cupboard months or years later. Do yourself a favour and leave them behind.

Refuse the hanger

Unless you have a huge shortage of clothes hangers at home, don’t take the hanger when offered it in a shop. Extra hangers gather at the edges of wardrobes or in ironing baskets adding to the clutter.

Shop with intent

Craft markets, farmers’ markets and trade shows are even more tricky to navigate your way through than standard shops as they are chocked full of exciting items. It’s hard to avoid them as they are such fun but be mindful and intentional when browsing otherwise you may end up with lots of things you don’t need.

Control your guilt

Parties that your friends host like candle parties, makeup parties etc bring with them an inner guilt that we need to buy something. Another tough one to navigate through, but beware the guilt you feel making you buy things you will never use.

These little temptations stand in our way every time we enter a shop or jump online and they lead to sabotage. We work so hard on decluttering projects that self-sabotage is just not welcome. Be mindful, be aware, be strong and that way you will keep that clutter-free home intact.

This article was first published on Psychreg on 12 October 2020 https://www.psychreg.org/curb-your-clutter/

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  1. I lost my Mother in October 2020 at 87 having looked after her 24/7 for four years.
    I have only just recently been able to start and sort her clothes. It is so hard, though. Remembering where she wore them. All of her jewellery and her shoes.
    The photographs are going into a box to sort one day on their own.
    It seems an enormous task that I can only do slowly.
    There is also a lot of her parents stuff too, plus my Father and his parents. A very daunting task.
    It has been left to me being the only offspring.
    I really do appreciate your podcast, your advice and insight into the many facets of decluttering. Love from Ann in England.

    1. We’re so sorry to hear about your loss Ann, and it was right in the middle of Covid as well, which must have been so hard for you.

      You must take your time to sort through these items, but really remember to go for quality over quantity, so the object you keep can shine.

      Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing,

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