No one said it would be easy to simplify. Ask anyone who has moved to a more minimalist lifestyle, and they’ll tell you that there can be a lot of resistance come up. But it’s only stuff. Why do we have such a tough time finding a new home (including the trashcan) for items we no longer need or use? It’s all about the emotions surrounding the items that cause us to hold on tightly.
Stuff Makes Us Feel Secure
We buy with our emotions, not logic, which means we invest emotionally in our possessions. Having a lot of stuff makes us feel safe and secure. How many things do you keep around “just in case”? Having a lot of stuff or expensive items gives us status in our society, which also makes us feel important and secure in our place in the world.
We Spent Our Hard-earned Cash On It
Many people feel wasteful and guilty when they start decluttering their things. They think about how much they senselessly spent on items that are now simply cluttering up their homes, garages, basements, and sometimes even storage space they are paying a monthly fee on.
We Know We Should Use It
Guilt also comes in the form of “should’s.” We should use our treadmill. We should wear that expensive suit. A lot of times we buy special or nice things and then only use them for good… which is usually very rare or we forget about them when we are preparing for a special occasion.
It Was a Gift
Even if our least favorite aunt gives us a hideous lamp for the holidays, something we would never put out, we keep it in a closet, basement or storage unit. We feel it’s mean to donate something that someone put thought and money into, even though we hate it. So the guilt keeps us hanging onto it.
It Reminds Us of Better Times
We hold onto stuff from our past, most of which has no monetary, but a sentimental value. Keeping a few small items isn’t a big deal, but when we feel we need to keep everything from our carefree college days or all the love letters we’ve ever received, it can take up a lot of space and emotional energy.
Being unwilling to part with things that remind us of happier times can be a red flag that we aren’t happy with our current situation.
Everyone feels emotional when going through their stuff to declutter. It’s natural, so when you experience this, don’t beat yourself up. Just be aware that even though they are just things, we are typically connected to them in various ways because of the emotions that we have attached to them.