Indecision Leads to Clutter: How to Overcome It and Clear Clutter

Indecision and attachment to possessions can make it difficult to clear out clutter. These tendencies stem from reasons ranging from sentimental value to the belief that we might need the items in the future. Since clutter can have a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being, it’s crucial to tackle it. Below, I discuss some insights into why people struggle with indecision and attachment to clutter. I’ll also cover how to identify if you are a closet hoarder and practical solutions that can make it easier to clear clutter.

Why do so many people struggle with indecision and attachment to clutter?

There are a few reasons why you might be struggling to clear clutter.

Sentimental value:

Many people attach sentimental value to their possessions. So, they find it difficult to part with these items, even if they are no longer useful or taking up space. The items may hold memories or serve as reminders of important moments, making it challenging to let go.

Fear of waste:

People often struggle to clear out clutter because they don’t want to waste anything. They believe that they may need the items in the future, even if they haven’t used them in years. If you find yourself saying, “This might be useful someday” then you are asking yourself the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” If you haven’t used it in the past six months, then it is unlikely you’ll use it in the next six months (one exception: seasonal objects like skis or holiday decor). 

The belief that it will be difficult or expensive to replace:

Some people struggle to clear out clutter because they believe that it will be difficult or expensive to replace later. This reveals you are suffering from a scarcity mindset. If you can replace the item for $20 or less and haven’t used it in the last year, then go ahead and donate it. If it still has some useful life in it, then get it as quickly as you can into the hands of someone who can actually benefit from using it! If it has no useful life left, then it goes to recycling (or the landfill). The chances are very good that you’ll never need it.

It may help to put a value on your space. Would you rather have the space to attract new and better things into your life? Or would you prefer to cling to this dusty old thing? Once you learn how easy it is to attract the things you want in life, you’ll find it easier to let go of the old things that no longer serve you. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to activate the laws of attraction

How to identify if you are a closet hoarder:

Hoarding is a serious problem that can affect one’s physical and mental health. Here are some signs that indicate you may be a hoarder:

  • You have trouble getting rid of items, even if you don’t need them or have not used them in years
  • You feel overwhelmed and stressed when trying to sort through your possessions
  • Your living spaces are cluttered and it’s difficult to find what you need
  • Your clutter has started to negatively affect your daily life and relationships


Solutions to clear the clutter for those who struggle with indecision and attachment:

Take it one step at a time

Clearing clutter can be overwhelming, but it’s important to start somewhere. Choose one small area, like a closet or a dresser, and tackle it first. This will help you build momentum and overcome indecision. Also, it will give you a sense of accomplishment. You might start by turning your bedroom into a restful haven. Make the bed. Clear the nightstands. Recycle old magazines. Remove anything that doesn’t belong in your bedroom to create a restful space. Flip all the clothes on hangers the other way around so you can easily see what you use and don’t use after 30 days. Then move the stuff you don’t use into storage or donate.

Set a deadline

Set a deadline for when you want to have the clutter cleared. This will give you a sense of urgency and motivate you to get started. Alternatively, you can join a 30-day clutter-clearing challenge online or take the Coach Yourself to Success online course to start living your ideal life. Often when people feel the desire to clear clutter, they are looking for bigger life changes. This is the first step. 

Ask for help 

No one is attached to your stuff the way you are. It is much easier for an objective friend or a professional organizer to see what can easily be discarded or donated. Having someone else to hold you accountable and provide support can make the process less daunting. And having an extra pair of hands to bag things and take them out to the car will speed up the process. Go out to lunch or dinner to celebrate afterward! 

Donate your stuff unless it is truly valuable

If you are feeling bogged down, just donate your things instead of trying to sell them. Of course, if they are worth your time to sell (most things aren’t), then sell them. As an alternative, take the valuable items to a resale or consignment shop that will sell them for you. I just took all my fancy New York City designer clothes to an upscale resale shop. They are doing the work of selling it and they donate 10% of the proceeds to charity. A win-win all the way around and a big time-saver for me. I know myself well enough to know that I’ll never find the time to sell this stuff online. Most people overestimate how much their things are worth. Just because you paid good money for it doesn’t mean it is worth that much now! 

Save sentimental items in a memory box

If you have items that hold sentimental value, consider storing them in a memory box. This way, you can keep the items close, but they won’t clutter your living space. If it is a large item, could you take a photograph of it to keep the memory and free up valuable space? Consider using a professional service to digitize photographs you want to preserve. Here are more tips for clearing sentimental items. 

Use the one-year rule

If you haven’t used an item in the past year, it’s unlikely that you’ll use it in the future. Consider donating items that fall into this category without a second thought. 

Set numeric limits

If you struggle with indecision, it can really help to set numeric limits. For example, you could decide you need 14 pairs of underwear and keep your favorites. Maybe you only need one spare set of sheets per bed or three towels per person in the family. This makes decision-making easier as you keep the best and donate the rest. As a good rule of thumb, you should only keep what fits comfortably in the allocated space. If your books are double stacked in the bookcase or you can’t fit all your clothes into the wardrobe, then you need to clear items until it all fits easily. More importantly, it should fit easily with extra room to spare for new things to come into your life. 

While indecision and attachment to possessions can make it difficult to clear out clutter, remember that clutter can have a negative impact on your mental and physical well-being. It is worth getting help to create a comfortable and relaxing home environment. By taking it one step at a time, setting a deadline, asking for help, and storing sentimental items you’ll start making visible progress. I highly recommend getting a friend in to help, even if you take turns decluttering each other’s homes. It is easy to clear someone else’s clutter because you don’t have any attachment to it so bring in the friends! 

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