Is De-cluttering a Practical Necessity or Emotional Need?


A friend recently asked me if downsizing and decluttering was more of an emotional or practical process, which really made me think about possible responses. Which is it? 

When you look at the actualprocess of downsizing and de-cluttering – unpacking, sorting, deciding, organizing and maintaining, it seems practicality could win out. Just follow the steps right?

Not always so. As much as containers, dividers, and labels can help, actually delving into this process often brings up a host of emotional reactions, which, at times, can prevent us from moving forward in a way that we envision, want, or need. Just look at the billion-dollar storage industry, the bulk of which is driven by indecision about stuff!

Necessity can be a driver for downsizing and de-cluttering (moving, estate sales, etc.), but what I see more often now is the desire people have to live more simply and intentional.  Doing more with less. And perhaps keeping only what sparks joy according to organizing guru Marie Kondo! 

One of the benefits of supporting clients through this process is the feedback I receive afterwards., ranging from, “Wow, I feel relieved and so much lighter”, to “A huge weight has been lifted” to “I feel like I can manage more efficiently now” to “ I feel more in control and I like it”! 

The results of going through a de-cluttering/organizing process are emotional – it’s all about feeling transformed in some way. Moving clients from feeling overwhelmed, inefficient and embarrassed, to feeling more organized, in control, and balanced is my goal – and my expertise. 

Facilitating an emotional shift through a practical hands-on process is the goal of this process. 

Attachment to our belongings can be challenging to work through due to familial, financial, timing, health and other issues. These pressures can keep us from doing the very things we say we want to do – live with less, be more in control of our lives, make more time for the things that matter, etc. 

Acknowledging that the downsizing/decluttering/organizing process is an emotional one first, and a practical one, second, is crucial. This process is so much more than clearing out closets and drawers. The process asks us to reflect deeply on who we are and what our relationship to stuff is, based on our past decisions, ideas about our future and current action (or inaction).  

To come to terms with what we own, use, save and store, we must dig deep into our own decision-making process and beliefs, while suspending judgment, shame and guilt, in order to take the appropriate next steps.

This is not always easy to do and that is why a professional organizer can truly help. With an unbiased approach and skilled advice and action, we recognize the need to provide emotional support while simultaneously applying practical expertise through a process that makes you feelmore at home and more in control in every way.  

Feeling ready to take on the emotional and practical challenge? Let’s connect!