no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for September 2004

Clutter thoughts

People often ask me why they find it so hard to let go of things they will never use again or things that they don't even like. Why can't they just get on with it? They know that all this clutter is standing in the way of them having the life and home they want. But still it feels unnerving and difficult to actually let go of things.

I've thought long and hard about this over the years. My background in psychology means I'm interested in why we hoard and why decluttering is a real challenge for most people. This is not because they are lazy or were born disorganised. It's because it is emotionally uncomfortable as it challenges long held beliefs that are common in our society.

Are these 5 beliefs standing in your way?

"I have to get your money's worth"

What does that mean to you? Do you believe you have to wear a pair of shoes until they fall apart? Would you really wear a pair of cowboy boots or platform heels you felt ridiculous in just to make sure you got good value. Isn't it more important to enjoy your life than to squeeze every last penny's worth out of something. Why use up a body lotion that you hate the smell of? I believe by passing on our unwanted stuff to charity or friends we can let go of any guilt and let someone else have the pleasure.

"I hate to admit I've made a mistake"

We've all had a funny five minutes in the changing room when we think we look good in orange. Or we indulge in a fantasy that we'll get up every morning and make fresh juice. A year later the juicer is gathering dust in the spare room. Be kind to yourself and try and see the funny side. You're human - accept we all make mistakes from time to time. Let the orange shirt and the juicer go. Trust me you'll never miss them and feel much better.

"I'll need something the minute I give it away"

This is a convenient reason to hold onto things just in case they might be useful. We all worry that we'll regret giving something away. I can honestly say that over the years I've given things to charity I've rarely missed anything apart from the odd CD. If you worry about this put things in a holding place for a couple of weeks and see if they call you back. My rule is if you don't wake up at 3am thinking I do want to keep that vase, then you'll soon forget about it.

"I can't let it go - it was a present"

Presents are tough. It's easy to feel ungrateful if you don't want to keep something you were given. But what is the alternative - shoving it in the back of the cupboard and yanking it out once a year when your relatives visit? Try and sidestep the guilt and go back to basics. Ask yourself will you use it and do you enjoy having it around? Otherwise it is clutter. Find the courage to let it go. If the opportunity arises in future why not signpost what you really want for your next present?

"I should be able to declutter on my own"

How many times have you started to declutter and given up? For some people having practical and emotional support makes all the difference. There's no shame in needing help. I find people often start our sessions with a flurry of apologies about the state of their home and what a mess they are in. But the way I see it is we all have different talents and abilities. I enjoy decluttering and getting organised but struggle with technology. Why feel bad if this is something you need help with? Feel good that you are finally coming to grips with something you've struggled with in the past.

Share your thoughts and win a calendar

I'd love to hear your thoughts about what is standing in the way of you sorting out your clutter. I've got a Family Organizer calendar from to give away for the best contribution which I'll include in next month's newsletter.

Organized Mum is a brand new company that is selling calendars and diaries that are perfect for busy homes. The Family Organizer costs just £9.99 and has huge squares to put all your family’s comings and goings and includes lots of fun stickers to flag up the important things you don’t want to miss! It lasts for 16 months starting in September so you don’t have to wait to start using it!

Check out this month's tip: Broken things are clutter!

If you found this newsletter interesting or helpful (or even both!), why not share it with a friend. Click the "Forward" button on your emailer or print it out to send it to someone who might like a read.

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 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at


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