When and why does decluttering become difficult?

Decluttering can be a lot of fun, especially in the beginning when we see how much unwanted stuff we really need to part with and how it’s been holding us back.

But there are other times when decluttering can be challenging and not understanding why this happens or what to do about it can really make us feel discouraged.

Everyone is different so don’t think that this will definitely happen to you but if it does, here are some thoughts on how to approach it.

1. For many of us, material possessions serve as a distraction so once we remove that distraction we have no choice but to face ourselves.

And by that I mean we have to face everything; the good and the bad – our insecurities, our unhappiness, our problems as well as our dreams and aspirations.

Seeing all of this can make us feel worse but we shouldn’t let it stop us – we owe it to ourselves to be honest, even though it can feel unpleasant.

And the good thing is that the initial discomfort doesn’t need to last that long because once we see what is actually bothering us we can then start working on that particular area, which will make us feel both happier and calmer. So despite the helpless feeling that we may experience in the beginning, accepting the truth is the only way to take responsibility for our life in order to change it.

So minimalism isn’t just about tidying up your house – it can also be a valuable tool to help you to improve your life. And as your need for distraction, external validation and material objects lessens – the space in your head (as well as in your home) increases.

Also, sometimes we are afraid of accepting the truth about our life because we think once we see it we must change everything drastically overnight – but life is not black and white so neither should our thinking be. So try and find different solutions, talk to other people and find a plan of action that works for you.

2. Another thing that might happen is that as we declutter, we start to evolve and let go of who we used to be and that can create a fear of losing the people that we love.

This might sound extreme but it’s not, it’s very human.

We want to belong with other people, we want to feel loved and included. So by changing our values and how we live our lives – becoming fearful of losing our friends is understandable.

And you’ll know you’re starting to change and evolve when you start shopping less frequently or have a shift in your beliefs about the world – and the people close to you will know this too. So if you’re used to going shopping with friends, talking about life and thinking alike – changing that can feel frightening.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can still go shopping without buying anything and you can even help your friends make better decisions. Maybe change the venue entirely and go out for a movie, grab a meal or do some fun activities. Try to include them in what you’re doing and thinking because they might like it as well.

Or perhaps you feel other people may judge you or think you’re acting illogically and that’s why it’s crucial for you to move forward at your own pace so you stay confident in what you’re doing which means that what other people have to say won’t matter to you.

And if you do lose a connection with some people over time, don’t worry. That’s a normal part of life – as we change so does the world around us and that’s not a bad thing.

“If you look at the people in your circle and don’t get inspired, then you don’t have a circle, you have a cage.”

3. So how do we navigate the changes that decluttering can bring?

By developing honesty and self-awareness.

Most of us live pretty hectic lives – from the moment we wake up till the end of the day we’re always doing and planning something and there’s rarely a time when we’re alone so we can observe our thoughts and reflect on them.

So intentionally taking time for ourselves is a great way to start shifting that.

And here are simple yet excellent tools to help you with this so pick the ones you like and give them a go.

  • Journaling: writing down our emotions and reflecting upon our day and how it went can help us get a better idea of how we live our lives and what we can do to improve them. It also helps us get everything out of our heads and onto a piece of paper which can create more space to think.
  • Reading books: reading to learn more about life can be a great tool to start reflecting upon our own lives and which thoughts we have. They can reassure us and give us hope that change is possible and good books can also help us change our perspective about ourselves and the world.
  • Meditation: sitting down for a few minutes a day to just breathe is a great way to learn how to be alone with our thoughts without either chasing them or running away from them. Try setting a timer and count your breath from one to ten and keep counting until the alarm stops. If you get carried away and you reach number seventeen just gently return to number one.
  • Talking: we all talk throughout the day so why not change the way we communicate with people we trust? Try sharing more about how you feel, what your thoughts are and keep an open mind. If you’re prone to gossiping as oppose to sharing, be aware of it and then find a way to change the topic.
  • Yoga: doing some yoga can help us breathe, observe our thoughts and connect our mind with our body. Doing 10 or 15 minutes a day or every other day is a great way to feel more connected and refreshed.
  • Going for a walk by yourself: walking without music or other distractions can help us think so we can make better decisions and free our head. But if that seems too lonely then go with someone you trust and that you can share your thoughts with. And as much as I love dogs, going on walks with our little friends can be great but when we want to reflect and observe our thoughts, they can distract us and interrupt our thinking so just be aware of that.
  • Doing nothing: if all of the above seems too much work then try doing nothing. Sit down without your phone or tv or food or music, just sit down in the quietness and be still. Observe how you feel and see the thoughts that pop into your head. That’s it.

The more we connect with ourselves, the less frightening it is to let go of the items around us so self-awareness and decluttering really do go hand in hand.

I hope this helped you gain some perspective and if you have any ideas of your own, please let me know 😊

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