Eco-Conscious Mindset

What People Don’t Tell You About Decluttering

konmari book next to decluttered clothes

There’s a lot to be said about the Konmari Trend that has been going around. For those of you who don’t know, this method has existed for quite some time already, and the minimalism movement exists in conjunction. So decluttering and ridding of items that do not spark joy or add value in your life is just old news that is resurfacing itself in today’s media.

Now, I’m not here to say that decluttering is bad or that it has negative effects on your life. On the contrary, I’m here to say that it offers so much value in one’s life, but people need to be aware of what else you can learn from the process.

Read More: Benefits of Decluttering

When I first learned to declutter in 2016 after reading Marie Kondo’s book and immersing myself in vast minimalism and decluttering content, I immediately took a shot at it. I was about to graduate college that school year and thought it would be good to only bring items back to my hometown that brought meaning to my life. In addition, I was moving from a small apartment to a house and didn’t want to bring things that piled up over the year into our new home. It was an optimal time to declutter, look through my things, and ask myself if they really sparked joy or served a purpose in my life.

However, decluttering wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows for me. I got rid of items that I was able to detach from in the moment, but later on, I found myself regretting that they were gone. This was partially due to me not following the KonMari method of decluttering step by step, as my attachment to items was still there subconsciously even though I consciously rid of items. Looking back, I knew that if I could keep the items still, I wouldn’t because I am content with where I am in my life and my current items. But this isn’t to say that there are not things I wish someone told me before I began the process of decluttering.

  • Before getting rid of your clothes, understand what your personal style is.
    • You bought these clothes for a reason. If they were for fashion trends, then maybe you can get rid of them, but there is always a chance that you actually like the design or the feel of a clothing item, and that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it.
    • Tips for knowing what your personal style are:
      • Make a mood board on Pinterest
      • Shop around thrift stores or online to find items that fit your style
      • Repurpose clothing you already have to fit your style (make shirts or sweaters crop tops if they are too long, make pants into shorts if that’s what you like, etc).
  • If you are not over a memory that it attached with an item, it’s okay to hold onto it for a bit before deciding to discard it.
    • Many of the sentimental items we hold onto have a positive memory associated with it, so we find it difficult to thank it and let it go. Though the process of intentional decluttering states that you must think if it sparks joy or serves a purpose in your life, sometimes, it’s not easy to let go right away. And that is fine. If you want to hold on, then hold on. This process isn’t supposed to make you hate decluttering. It’s supposed to help you free from the past and the things that hold you back, but we all progress at different speeds. And no one should make you feel bad for not getting rid of something.
  • If you do get rid of something that you wish you got back, you need to be able to forgive yourself.
    • Yes, you may have gotten rid of pictures you actually wanted to keep, or childhood mementos that bring you back to a place of joy, or even gifts that you should have treasured more in that moment, though at the time you discarded it, it didn’t mean a lot. If you find yourself in a situation like this, forgiving yourself is the only way to move forward. Before forgiving, allow yourself the space to feel the emotions of sadness and regret, but know that holding onto these feelings will not serve you. Use it as a lesson for the future, and know what you will do from now on, what you are in control of at this point in time. Ground yourself, forgive, and proceed.
  • Think of the function of items before ridding it just because it doesn’t spark joy.
    • If an item makes you feel bad every time you look at it because you never use it, probably never will, or you don’t think it fits your lifestyle, then it seems evident that you should discard it. However, if it is an item that CAN serve value in your life and it’s a matter of pushing yourself for a lifestyle change that will allow you to use it, then go with that option. I feel that although humans make impulsive consumer choices at times, I also feel we are guided by our intuition and that some of our purchases are actually a reflection of our belief in ourselves and our desire to have a better life.
  • As much as you want to declutter other people’s things, know that you cannot and that doesn’t mean they don’t care about themselves or that they don’t love you enough to try.
    • People figure out in their own time if they want to declutter their lives. Some people discover this quicker than others, and that’s completely normal. As with religion, political views, and other belief systems, we should not strive to force people to live a certain way. We can only lead by example. And once they notice the benefits it has brought into your life, they will begin their journey and ask you for your guidance. Be open with them, and remain patient.

This is just the beginning of what I’ve learned from decluttering over the years, and I’m sure that I will discover more things I wish I knew as time passes by. But for the meantime, I want you to keep in mind the holistic process of decluttering: the good, the bad and the ugly, and remember to always forgive yourself for not being perfect because your intentions are in the right place, my dear.

What is one thing you wish you knew before decluttering, that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear different perspectives and expand my community. Thanks y’all. Til the next post~

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