Decluttering is an art. In order to master the craft, you have to be willing to fight tough mental and physical battles, and not everyone is cut out to excel at it. Spring cleaning excuses run rampant as you try to justify keeping some of the junk you have in your closet, even though you haven't touched it in ages. In the same way that I used to dream of being a ballerina, I wish I could be better at getting rid of my stuff. As glamorous as these ideas are, I’m not willing to power through blistered toes to be a ballet dancer, nor am I willing to say goodbye to the last of my stuffed animals, even though they just live in my closet.
Nonetheless, I go into spring cleaning
each year with the idea that this will be the year that I finally manage a
massive closet overhaul. I
make a plan of attack, get pumped up, and unleash my enthusiasm. As
Goodwill donation boxes start to fill up, my sense of accomplishment grows. Yet
somewhere in the process, I inevitably start to run out of steam. Items
that should also be packed in those boxes — items that I haven't used or thought about in months — end up making their way back onto shelves. Even
though I know I should get rid of the junk, the emotions I attach to certain items keep me
from going through with it.
For the other unskilled but well-intentioned spring cleaners out there, here are 13 familiar thoughts that are obstacles to decluttering.
1. This was a gift
Whether it’s an old book inscribed by a favorite teacher or the ugly scarf knitted for you by a friend, it’s hard not to feel the same way about the item as you do about the person who gave it to you.
2. This would be perfect for a costume
You never know when a friend will hold a party that calls for a sexy astronaut outfit.
3. This might be worth something someday
That Beanie Baby collection you spent your hard-earned allowance on may one day pay for itself, right?
4. This celebrates an accomplishment
Who doesn’t love a reminder of their own awesomeness?
5. I'll regret not having this the one time I need it
That feeling you get when you realize you just gave away something, and now you need it for the first time in years? The worst.
6. I do use this — once in a while
That feeling you get when you finally use something you’ve been saving for just such an occasion? The best.
7. This brings back so many memories
That notebook full of history notes doesn’t interest you in a scholarly way, but you do love the messages you and your friend scrawled back and forth in it during class.
8. This used to be my favorite
All of the hours you spent playing the Sweet Valley High board game earned it eternal “keep” status.
9. This was such a good deal/so expensive
Two sides of the same coin, the insanely cheap and the overly lavish items tend to stick around. The sense of triumph you got from each stays with you.
10. I’ll turn this into a DIY project
What was old can be new again. You’ll totally get around to making that happen.
11. This is from my childhood
How can you part with your American Girl doll? Maybe your kids will want it one day.
12. This is a part of history
Never mind the digital version — you have your hands on the actual papers covering the 2000 Summer Olympics.
13. Getting rid of this would be harder than keeping it
Moving your ugly old armchair out of your apartment would be more painful than having to look at it every day.