Often, knowing your items are going to a good home can be motivation enough to let them go. Sometimes that’s not enough. In this post I’m going to go over some common roadblocks that keep people from starting to declutter, or from decluttering effectively. I hope they’ll help you on your organization journey—and if you’re struggling with something or have a question, leave me a message in the comments!


Gifts can be a sticking point for decluttering! You may feel someone would be disappointed if they found out you let go of their gift, but let me frame it this way: the person giving you the gift hoped you would enjoy it! If you’re not enjoying it anymore, the gift no longer serves its purpose.

When someone gives you a gift, the gift becomes yours to do with what you want, including letting it go! There’s no contract binding you to keep things past their point of use, so if a gift has outstayed its welcome, it’s time to pass it on.

Don’t know where to start

If you want to organize your whole home, where do you start? If you try to do everything at once, you’ll likely end up burnt out and overwhelmed. If you’re unsure where to begin, start small. Pick one area and don’t leave until you’ve gone through everything in it. This can be a whole room, or a spot as small as your junk drawer. The point is to start, accomplish something, and let the first win keep you moving.

What if I need it later?

It’s one thing to keep six tubs of ice cream in your freezer when you’re hosting a big birthday party next week. It’s another thing to keep six tubs of ice cream in your freezer for months, worried a birthday party might spring up out of nowhere! The but-I-might-need-it mentality is counterproductive. If you have a specific use for something in mind, and you know when that use is going to come up, keep that item. Otherwise, you can let it go now, and get a replacement when you do need it.

Sentimental items

Sentimental items can be tough. They’re things you really connect with, and may bring lots of memories and feelings. It’s best to tackle sentimental items when you’ve built up momentum on other things.

When it comes to decluttering sentimental items, the point is to keep the memories, not the stuff. The ways I do that are:

  • Keeping one: If you’re holding on to every stuffed animal from your childhood bedroom, your grown-up bedroom might be a little crowded. I recommend keeping one item to represent others. That way you still have access to all the memories and feelings associated with your collection, and a lot more space in the bed.
  • Taking a photo: Say you’re holding on to an old record player. It takes up a lot of space, and doesn’t even work anymore. You can keep the memories by taking a nice photo of it before you let it go. You can keep an album with these kinds of pictures in it, and have a way to enjoy all those memories for years to come.
  • Say goodbye: Sometimes it makes more sense to have a meaningful goodbye with something you love, but no longer use. That will solidify the item in your memory, and let you free up space in your life for new things.

What trips you up when you try to declutter? Comment below with your roadblocks!

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