Difficult Decluttering Isn’t Easy…..

This morning a friend who has been following my blog sent me a link to a source for a set of three collapsible canvas hampers marked, “Give Away,” “Put Away,” and “Throw Away” which purported to be The Solution  to deal with Procrastination, the impediment that the vendor would have us believe is the principal deterrent to decluttering our homes…

I replied to my friend’s message thusly:

“The reason any of us procrastinate the EASY decluttering, the sorting of our own stuff — stuff on which nobody else has a claim — may be the lack of decluttering equipment, although I’ve always found that a box of 30-gallon trash bags does the trick very nicely.  Plus, the bags disappear with the clutter and don’t become clutter themselves, as those containers would do, and 30-gallon trash bags don’t sit around forever proclaiming that we will NEVER be finished with decluttering.”

But I don’t believe it is the lack of cute or appropriate equipment that is the reason we procrastinate EASY decluttering.  I believe we put off decluttering our personal stuff because we don’t need to do it.  That is, until we’re going to move house, or until we really need the space — for a new baby; or maybe to set up our new weaving loom…


The main thing this blog is concerned with is DIFFICULT decluttering; decluttering which no sweetly organized how-to steps, no helpful charts, no colorfully marked bins, no dumpster contracts can ever help to get done.

DIFFICULT decluttering is decluttering stuff to which another living person has ties.

The reason that kind of decluttering is difficult is that it cannot even begin without mutual consent. But absolutely nobody can ever MAKE anyone else DO anything, let alone make anyone else feel any urgency about doing it NOW.

DIFFICULT decluttering is a matter of developing enough negotiating technique, enough love and respect, enough sense of shared purpose, that all the people involved agree that it must be done, when it must be done, and how it must be done.

DIFFICULT decluttering is difficult because nobody, no matter how inconvenienced or irritated, may give away, throw away, or even put away another person’s stuff without mutual agreement.

DIFFICULT decluttering gets stalled when one or another person doesn’t want to deal with it, when the stuff isn’t actually bothering one of them, or when the task is so physically or emotionally overwhelming that they don’t know how to get started.

DIFFICULT decluttering is about dealing with a whole lot of emotions — all the emotions tied up with the stuff, plus all the emotions tied up in family relations.

I think that DIFFICULT decluttering becomes easier when we share our stories.  That is what this blog is about.

Author: American Declutterer

I've had three careers, moved among thirteen states, and cleared four houses after loved ones moved on. Sometimes you just have to look at all the stuff and laugh. Then get back to discarding.

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