no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for October 2006

Don't fight your feelings

How many times recently have you decided to have a decluttering session and then found it either impossible to start or lost concentration within minutes and given up? If all your good intentions are coming to little, spend a few minutes today considering what's really standing in your way.

Negative emotions can sabotage your desire to have an orderly home and streamlined life. Let's look at some of the most common feelings that decluttering brings up:


Are you afraid of making a mistake and living to regret the day you got rid of your spare suitcase or those old work reports? Perhaps you're worried that people around you will interfere or criticise you for the changes you are making. Do you worry about the future and fear an uncluttered life will leave you vulnerable if you lose your job or go through a period of ill health? Or do you worry that if you let go of objects from your past you will somehow lose your identity.


Are you fed up with the sheer amount of time and energy decluttering takes? Do you wonder why your organised friends have inviting homes that are not sinking under a sea of paperwork and ironing? Do you think there must be better ways to spend a Sunday than sorting out your kids' wardrobes?


Are you angry at yourself for letting things get into such a state? Or do you blame someone you live with for the chaos? Do you feel overwhelmed at the endless flow of stuff that seems to be taking over your life? Do you sometimes fantasize that your home will burn down and you'll get a chance to start afresh?


Do you hate waste and feel guilty if you let go of something that still has wear in it? Even if you sell it or give it to charity is there a nagging feeling that you somehow have been profligate and wasteful? Or do you feel guilty about no longer wanting sentimental items that were once important to you?

Working through these feelings

It's completely normal to experience the feelings that I've described above and I'm afraid there is no magic solution that will eliminate them. The reality is that decluttering is an emotional process. I've just put a brand new tweed skirt (unworn) that I bought last winter in the charity bag. Yes I felt a tweak of guilt - why did I buy it? What on earth was I thinking of? Then I thought I should sell it on ebay and try and recoup some of the money. Before this negative spiral got out of control I reminded myself that I was perfectly happy to let Cancer Research have the money and yes I was going though a stressful period when I bought the skirt. So my decision is to let it go and to let myself off the hook.

If you find that feelings are stopping you in your tracks - grab a notebook next time you get stuck and try and work out what's really going on. It may be that you hear your mother's voice telling you to waste not want not. Or there may be a lot of sadness involved in moving on from your children's baby days or in saying goodbye to a much loved home before a move.

I'll leave you with these thoughts and would love to hear how you've overcome emotional blocks to decluttering. My favourite will be published in the next newsletter and will win a copy of my new book Hoarder to Order. Email your story to

I would particularly recommend my first book no more clutter if you are determined to come to grips with the psychological aspects of clutter as well as the practical issues.

My new book Hoarder to Order
hoarder to order cover has just been published. It's part of a series called Get a Life and takes a straightforward 100 day approach to sorting out your home by spending just 30 minutes a day getting organised. I know a hundred days sounds like forever but if you started now think how great your home will look by Christmas! And don't forget my first book no more clutter cover!

Finally, take a look at this month's tip - kick-start the weekend with some decluttering

Sue Kay works with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small businesses, declutter before a house move, prepare your spare room for a new baby and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're selling your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market to achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help call Sue on 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at


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