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How to Get Unstuck From Emotions When Organizing

After making an estimated 35,000 decisions every day of our lives, you'd think we'd all be expert decision-makers. Or at least be able to make the seemingly easy decision, "do I like this shirt," without experiencing a minor anxiety attack.

Yet, in a 2017 survey, 31% of responders said they still couldn't part with at least one item in their home, even though that item was beyond repair. Turns out that even as adults, after those years of making decisions, we still aren't always that great at making smart decisions.

Why is that? Mostly because we let our emotions make decisions for us. Interested in learning how to stop that cycle? Keep reading to learn how to identify and stop the emotions that keep you cluttered.


You know the drill. You're sorting through items and finally getting rid of some clutter. You're probably even feeling pretty proud of yourself. Then you reach that item. You know the one.

The one you:

  • Haven't seen in at least a year

  • Forgot you owned

  • Is covered in dust

  • Is wrinkled/stained/ripped

  • Is torn (and not on purpose)

  • Is broken beyond repair

Seems obvious what your decision you'll make, right? It's time to trash or donate that item. Any reasonable person would say so.

The Devil Made Me Do It

But then somehow the logic disappears and the emotions kick in. And like that iconic duo, the devil and the angel, you suddenly hear two opposing sides.

The angel side is practical. The angel knows you enjoyed the item thoroughly. It's time to toss let it go. It's time to make space for new things in your life.

The devil's side focuses only on emotions. And not the positive emotions like love and joy, either. This devil focuses on the guilt such as:

  • You spent a lot of money on that. Look what you let it become. You obviously suck.

  • Someone special (or not) gave you that. Now it doesn't work. You clearly don't appreciate anything good.

And the fear:

  • Doesn't matter if it doesn't work, you get rid of it, you're going to need it.

  • And because you let it go, you're going to want it the instant you toss it out. And it's going to eat at you!

Or the apathy:

  • It doesn't matter what you do. Who cares because nothing is ever going to change, so why bother?

Or the shame:

  • Man, you're so embarrassing you can't even make a simple decision. You're useless so just give up you loser.

Kind of hard to stay motivated after all these thoughts start flooding in, isn't it?

Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

Notice how these thoughts aren't:

  • Supportive

  • Kind

  • Loving

  • Happy

No one makes smart decisions out of fear, guilt, or apathy. Remember when you sort and declutter that you're doing it because you deserve to surround yourself with the best items that represent who you are now.

You deserve the best no matter what you look like, how old you are, how much you have in your bank account, or if you've made some monumental mistakes in your life. You still deserve love and kindness, but it has to start with you and your thoughts.

Organizing Helps Get Rid of Mental Clutter

Organizing is a great way to get back in touch with yourself. And a great way to let the fear, shame, guilt, and apathy go from your life. The more you part with the tangible things that tell you that you're not good enough, the more space opens up for new items, people, and opportunities that show you how amazing, unique, and valuable you are.

Always be your biggest supporter. And one way to do that is to know when to ask for outside help. If you can't afford a professional organizer, ask a friend, family member, or online organizing support group for advice and support. Or hire a professional organizer to help you learn how to get and stay organized for good!

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