3 Signs You Should Stop Decluttering
And that includes decluttering. There are hoarders, and there are people who can fit everything they own into a backpack. I imagine most of us belong somewhere between those two extremes.
Before you declutter, perhaps some or all of these are true:
- You think that buying or experiencing something new will make your life better.
- You think you deserve new things or experiences because you work so hard.
- You think you need to own or do certain things to keep up or fit in with everyone else.
- You spend a lot of time, money, energy, and attention on all your stuff.
- You have a clearer understanding of what you value and what actually makes your life better.
- You have more confidence in who you are, not in what you own or experience.
- You worry less about people judging you for what you own or experience.
- You have more time, money, energy, and attention to spend taking care of yourself and your loved ones, and on projects that you are really passionate about.
1. Decluttering has made you sad and anxious.
If you've tried to let go of stuff, but end up feeling a strong sense of loss or worry that you'll need it, give yourself permission to stop decluttering for a while. If the clutter is really weighing you down, but you feel defeated and frustrated by your own attempts to reduce it, ask for help. Ask a friend, or a family member, someone you trust to listen without judging. You don't have to do it alone.
2. You continue to shop, even as you declutter.
If clear countertops, tables, and bookshelves have sent you running to the store to fill up the empty spaces, slow down. Live with the empty space. Give yourself time to think about what you really want and need. Maybe you'll decide you like a more spacious home, or realize there are rooms you don't even need. Regardless, take a break before adding or removing anything else.
3. You're in conflict with your family because you gave away their stuff.
If you've been anxious or driven in your decluttering, and haven't taken your family's feelings into consideration, you may need to stop and focus on your own stuff. As Courtney Carver says, "Choose love over stuff." Talk with your loved ones about why a simpler life is important to you, and ask them what's important to them. Keep communicating as you deal with your own possessions.
Meanwhile, reduce clutter in shared spaces by throwing out trash and putting things where they belong, and ask your family to do the same. Do this daily, and enjoy less clutter, even if the room is not exactly as you wish it to be. Perhaps someone will notice that it's hard to put away the game they're finished with when the game cupboard is packed and overflowing. Maybe they'll be more agreeable to decluttering games no one plays with any more. A small step in the right direction!