Real Reasons Why You Can’t Finish Decluttering

Alternate title: Why is this crap still in my house?

After the initial ‘purges’ I felt good. I got rid of the easy stuff: the garbage, the broken, the ‘I don’t even really like this’, or the ‘that was so college Me’



But I still feel a burden of ‘things’ around me. I’m high-centered on that hill between better and getting there.

I’ve been thinking lots about the things I’m still holding on to.


Let me take you for a walk around my messy ‘semi-simplified’ home (side note: I didn’t want to post these pictures, but for the sake of being genuine about my decluttering struggles, enjoy!)


Someone I know needs this.

So I know people who use jars. and egg cartons. And I hey, I use glass jars too! But at the pace we go through peanut butter and eggs, my pantry is becoming unusable for its purpose of appliance storage.

These jars need a new home, and I don’t mean the shed or the ‘man room’ where they will totally be used to store small quantities of like things in neat little rows. Let’s just cut to the chase and free up my pantry from jar purgatory.


It is sentimental.

Cookbooks, I know, it’s weird. But I was finally ready to part with this Alton Brown trio of books that I haven’t read in three years. Then my husband pulled the ‘I bought those for your birthday’. And since it is rare we do birthday presents, let alone the exact present I suggested I’d like….I just can’t let them go.

I believe there are lots of ways to preserve sentimental objects without keeping the all the sentimental items, but I’m yet to determine how to do that with these….so they stay, along with my belt buckle collection.


It’s worth something.

Well, it’s not worth a lot, but collectively it’s worth enough. So I’m totally gonna sell all this on that Facebook bidding site….actually that kinda is a time suck and nobody ever picks their stuff up. So, I’m gonna have a garage sale guys…..except that’s a lot of work that I don’t really feel too motivated to do. 

It might be worth something, but it’s more worth it to let it go.

The benefit of a clean, useable space outweighs the cost of me sorting, storing, promoting, sifting and pricing, sitting on my lawn all day so people can haggle me for the stuff I don’t want in the first place. Just box it up and call it a day because THAT is an opportunity cost I don’t want to have living in my basement for another three months.


The Epic Baby-Stuff Exchange.

It’s the ‘I have kids, you are gonna have kids, I’m gonna give you all my stuff….as soon as I sort through it…and then re-sort because I forgot what the piles were…and what? you don’t need it now? I’ve waited too long and you got it from someone else!?’ holding pen.

Kids are major sources of clutter with their seasonal items, clothes rotation, toys, seats, jumpers, shoes! I need to make a rule for myself that I pass it on within a month or it goes to thrift where it can end up in the hands of someone who will choose to bring it home.


The other reasons I think I/we hold on to things when we need to let go…..

I might need it.

I’ve been stricter with myself on letting go of things I ‘might’ need. I’m talking to you three curling irons, 19 brown belts, and econopack of assorted wall hooks.

Storing stuff we ‘might need’ is not the same keeping things we ‘will need’. It’s ok to let go of these ‘maybe’ things because really, if you come across a situation where you MUST have it, you could jimmy rig an alternative, run to the store or borrow from a friend. In the meantime, claim your space back warrior woman!


I identify with this.

I am a woman who likes beeswax candles. They say I’m classy, a little worldly, part hippy and part hostess. I should really keep these seven-year-old sheets of beeswax that I’m TOTALLY going to make my own candles out of. Did I mention I’m resourceful and crafty? Better keep this then, or I can’t possibly be all of those things…..can I?

I am not my stuff, my stuff is not me. 

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It is safe.

I’m gonna bring this down a notch. Real talk time. Sometimes we have ‘stuff’ as a physical barrier. A way of protecting ourselves, shielding ourselves. It is our haven. We are self-sufficient here. But it is just another barrier to living life in community. It can be the physical manifestation of the walls we’ve built up in our hearts to barricade ourselves.


It is secure.

If I have ‘stuff’, I have security. I need to have things of value on hand to sell if I need the money. I need to have things on hand so I’m never lacking, never without. I need one in every size: travel, regular and bulk! I need to keep these dishes/clothes/movies so I can display myself a certain way for my peers to acknowledge that I am a certain way.

Sometimes I need to take my faith out of ‘things’ and put my faith back into God. He will always provide, He will always pave a way. Our identity, our hope, our future is in Him. I don’t need all this ‘stuff’ to love people, to be my best self, to live a better life. Because it’s not THINGS that make us safe, or loveable or make our life good (generous exceptions to air conditioning and coffee grinders, you get the point). There is no security in worldly objects.


So what can you let go of today? Grab a box and fill it up.


Do you want to see more? Check out the Simplify Your Home page full of all the posts about decluttering and making your home more simple. 
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10 thoughts on “Real Reasons Why You Can’t Finish Decluttering”

  1. This is by far your most revolutionary and liberating post for me … every single issue you addressed is ME – in huge big capital letter!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you for being Real! You are a wonderful inspiration and much loved.
    Thank you for being such an encouraging Warrior.

  2. Yes , I see myself in so much of ” the why I kept it ” comments..ie I kept it because I spent hard earned money on it, I thought I would use it or wear it, it pleased me at the moment or it was,a good price. Like others I have had to ” soul search” on ” who am I”, “what do I really want and need 🤔 “. Less is more. Finally I am very careful about what I buy and keep receipts so if I change my mind I can return it. Also, the ” the one thing in and one thing out” rule. Keep all the good ideas coming so each of us can lead the best life possible.


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