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Decluttering Roadblocks

One of my favorite songs is "Life is a Highway". I think it's an upbeat and fun song, where you cruise down the highway without a care in the world. When I was thinking about clutter roadblocks, I thought about that song, but envisioned a not so sunny picture. Imagine that "Clutter is a Highway" and the exit ramps have roadblocks across them; things can use the on-ramps with no problem onto the Clutter Highway, but the exit ramps are blocked. I guess you'd end up with a Clutter Traffic Jam after awhile. So what can we do to unblock the exit ramps and let go of your excess clutter?

While you are decluttering, roadblocks can stop you from letting go of something you really know that you don't need, use or love anymore and it can even stop you before you even get started. Identifying some of the common roadblocks and realizing when they sneak up on you will help you break through them and be more successful when you declutter.

I don't know where to start. This one gets you right off the bat. You look at the collection of clutter and feel overwhelmed. There's just too much to look at that you don't know where to dig in. Or, you don't want to do it "wrong", so you don't start at all. The good thing is that there isn't really a "wrong" way to declutter, just set aside some time on a calendar and keep that appointment with yourself. Most often, I start on the floor if it is cluttered and then I go to the door and move left or right around the room and process the things on the furniture as you get to it. Use one bag for trash and another one for donations. If that's too much, set a timer and work a little bit at a time and take a short break, or just pick out obvious trash for starters. Hold off on decluttering sentimental items until last because those can really cause you to put the brakes on. Set them aside for later. The key is to just start by picking up your first item and then the next and the next and the next. One bite at a time.

I paid good money for that. All our money is "good money", but after you spend it, it's gone. Keeping something wont make you any richer, just like letting go of something wont make you any poorer. Actually, keeping something that you no longer use and has morphed into a pile or stored in the dark corners of your home could be costing you in so many other ways. It could be costing you enjoyment of your home, relationships with family members, and your mental and emotional health. So, if you think "money cost" of letting something go, also think of "nonmonetary cost" of keeping it, Your mental health is more important than having items controlling your life and your emotions.

I might use it. But will you?..... Everything we buy, we buy with the intention of using it or give it as a gift. However, if you no longer use it, never used it or the occasion that you bought that gift is over, chances are that it won't get used or gifted anytime soon. When you replace something, let the old one go because now it falls into the excess clutter category. If something breaks and you buy a new one, get rid of the old one because you probably wont fix it if it goes to live on a shelf in the garage or shoved in a drawer with other items waiting to be fixed. Even items you bought with good intentions as a gift, that you never gave just take up space. Let those items go and pass on their usefulness to someone who will love it and actually use it....even if it's new...

I feel guilty letting it go. Guilt can be a strong de-motivator for decluttering. If someone gives you a gift that just doesn't fit in with your lifestyle or decor, remember that when someone gives you a gift, they release all ownership of the gift and transfer that ownership to you to do what you please. Donate things that just don't work for you and if they come over and ask where it it, say "I'm not sure at the moment", which is completely true!!! Inherited items can also be difficult. Choose just a few smaller items that really make you smile when you think of that person, or things that you can use right away. Your loved one would probably rather have you cherish a few of their items than be overwhelmed with a huge quantity that takes up living space or goes to live in your basement and becomes a thorn in your side.

I think realizing why it's hard for you to declutter helps break through those roadblocks and helps make those decluttering decisions a little bit easier. Don't get caught up in a Clutter Traffic Jam. Good luck!!!

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