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Overcoming resistance to decluttering and downsizing

Overcoming resistance to decluttering and downsizing

If you, or someone you care about, want to get a decluttering project started but can’t seem to do it, here are some ideas that may help you break through your blocks and succeed!

1. Start by looking at what’s cluttering up your head. 
If you’re having trouble getting started, the first thing to consider is what you’re telling yourself about the project. Are you telling yourself it’s going to be difficult to make decisions? Do you feel a responsibility to hold on to things – even if you’re not using them? Are you concerned with what will happen to the items you choose to let go? Take some time to jot down all of your thoughts and concerns about the downsizing or decluttering before you begin. When you know what’s stopping you, it’s easier to move ahead.

2. Amp up your motivation. 
To get yourself going, focus on all the rewards you’ll realize when you’re done. Even reluctant declutterers report that being able to find things easily makes decluttering worth the effort. And with less visual clutter, their homes feel more peaceful. Thinking about the benefits of a calm, uncluttered home can provide powerful motivation as you go through the process.

3. Give yourself a deadline. 
Like teeth-cleaning and taxes, decluttering and downsizing are activities that most of us would happily avoid. Creating a decluttering schedule and putting decluttering dates on your calendar will help you stay focused. And giving yourself a deadline will ensure you meet your goal.

4. Ask for support — before you need it. 
Tell someone you’re thinking about downsizing, and chances are they’ll say they’ve been thinking about it, too. That’s the perfect time to suggest you become decluttering buddies. You can support each other physically – by alternatively working at each other’s homes. Or, you can decide to support each other emotionally by downsizing in parallel. Decide on a time you’ll both work on your project, then check in with each other at the beginning and end of the process. Having an accountability partner can help you keep going when you’d rather stop.

5. Set yourself up for success.  
Before you get started, it’s imperative to set realistic expectations of how much you can and want to do and how much time and energy you have to do it. Be generous in estimating how long things will take — probably longer than you think. And, be frugal in estimating how much energy you have –likely less than you hope. If you give yourself ample time and take it slowly, decluttering is something you can do yourself.

But if you decide that you’d rather spend your time and energy on other pursuits, there’s no shame in asking for professional help. Just because you can do it yourself, doesn’t mean you should. And getting professional help may be both the easiest way to get your over your resistance to downsizing, and the fastest way to get to the rewards.

Let us know if you’d like us to help you.

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