If there’s one massive thing I’ve learned in this dehoarding journey so far, it’s to start with the easy stuff.
When I have a torn cardboard box that I know will be of no use whatsoever, I don’t have much difficulty getting my head round why that has to go into the trash.
When I have an empty food wrapper, I have no difficulty getting my head round why that has to go into the trash.
But what’s interesting is that the more tricky items – perhaps things that are pretty but not especially useful, or things that I don’t like the look of but have some nostalgic element – are getting easier to deal with, the more of this I do.
So, if you’re feeling disheartened, if you feel that you’ll never be able to get rid of the really hard stuff because you really can’t deal with your 12 identical saucepans, don’t panic. Go easier. Find a piece of blatant trash and deal with that instead. Because the longer you do this for, the easier it will be to get rid of 10 of those 12 identical saucepans.
But don’t fret about that. In the meantime, just go with the things that do feel easy. The rest will come, in time.
One of the biggest barriers I face when I’m trying to ‘dehoard’ is that I get overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start, and I give up before even trying.
I look out at the mounds of clothes and the piles of black binbags and the broken shelves of books and the wardrobe that I can’t even get to, and any small action I can take seems pointless.
What’s the use of picking up that book or that pair of jeans when the house looks like this?!
I know I need to get over this, and I know that it is a matter of hundreds and hundreds of small steps in order to make a big difference.
This video has some interesting tips. The audio quality isn’t great, but Gayle Goddard (aka the Clutter Fairy) does seem to understand the problem of feeling overwhelmed when you’re trying to declutter, including sabotaging yourself, making things look worse than before you started, and feeling defeated.
She looks at taking small bites and consistency as ways to beat the sense of overwhelm when decluttering.