Decluttering: Expectation vs. Reality

October 18, 2018 • 4 min read
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You finally decided to rid your room or house of all the clutter. That is only the first step. But it can be overwhelming once you are actually doing it, leading to frustrations and even more clutter than when you first started.

The ideal may be different from the real experience. Here are the common expectations and realities that people deal with when decluttering.

Expectation: Decluttering is easy.
Reality: It’s not, or at least it’s not as easy as it seems.

Some think sorting out things is easy. They just haven’t gotten into it because they don’t have the time. You separate the important things from the unimportant ones, pack the latter away or throw them out and you’re done.

However, decluttering can be physically and mentally draining. If it’s so easy, everyone would have finished the process a long time ago.

The toll it takes on the mind to weigh the intrinsic value of each item we are keeping or throwing away. For instance, why is it so hard to let go of that shirt, which you haven’t worn for two years and is now two sizes too small?

Perhaps it’s because of the sentimental value of that shirt, or you’re clinging to the hope that you’re going to fit in that shirt again someday, or because it’s a designer brand and would be a waste to just throw away. These are some of the factors that come into play when decluttering.

Expectation: You can declutter in one sitting.
Reality: You will need more time.

So, you may have committed to decluttering and blocked off 2 hours of your Saturday just for that. If that’s your plan, you might be in for a rude awakening.

Decluttering involves sorting, packing, moving, lifting and throwing things away.

Sorting things can take an hour for a small portion of a room. For comparison, folding a full load of laundry can take thirty minutes – and that’s all mechanical work. Thus, two hours for the entire room to take things out, sort, stash and throw away just won’t cut it.

It’s better to anticipate that decluttering will take time, so take lots of small breaks in between so you won’t tire yourself out.

Expectation: Once decluttering is done, your work is done.
Reality: Clutter creeps back in when you least expect it

Organized Desk

You have finally pulled through, now you can rest easy, right?

Not really, you have to be vigilant in order to keep your room or house in its pristine state. If you do not take a proactive stance, your occasional purchases, unthrown litter ever growing clothes collection will once again be the subject of another decluttering project down the road.

Expectation: Decluttering is all about throwing stuff away.
Reality: You may want to hold on to some of your stuff.

You want a clean break from all the useless stuff in your life, so the easy decision would be to throw away all unneeded items.

However, you have to reign in the itch to throw away everything. Some of the things may not be useful now, but they might be in the future. For instance, your Christmas décor will be used during the -Ber months at most. But it would be more wasteful if you keep throwing them away and buying new ones for the succeeding year. Think twice before throwing everything out. You can always get storage space for things that have no place in your room or house, but will want or need in the future.

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