Learning to Let Go (of clutter)


Learning to let go


Happy Halloween everyone! Whether you love or hate halloween, I think this can be used as an opportunity to reflect on how clutter can make areas of our home spooky and scary, and how to effectively let go of clutter and stop it from haunting our homes.

Aside from making our home look like a haunted house, clutter has far more negative effects in our lives. Science agrees that clutter can cause detrimental effects on our physical, emotional and mental health. Feng Shui also sees clutter as stuck stagnant energy that prevents positive energy ("chi") from flowing smoothly in our homes and lives.

It's actually interesting how most people seem to fear decluttering more than the clutter itself . Whenever I try to encourage my friends to start de-cluttering and offer to personally help, their initial reaction always goes something like these:

Oh no.. It’s too embarrassing for you to come over.  You’ll be horrified with the state of my house”.

”I really wanted to tidy my home, but just looking at my clutter gives me goosebumps on how I can do it!”

”I’ve tried decluttering, but for some reason, clutter just always haunts my house!

I guess what makes people fear decluttering is the lack of knowledge on how to do it effectively. Decluttering is actually an easy task to do once you follow below simple tricks on letting go of clutter.

Focus on keeping items that sparks joy to you

Following the KonMari principle, choose which items to keep and to discard based on the criteria of which items "spark joy"to you as the foundation of your decision. Letting go of things that does not make you happy anymore makes letting go so much easier.

Determine your items' assigned worth

If the 1st trick seems vague, you can use this simple matrix to determine the  "Assigned worth" of your items.

This simple matrix can help you categorize your belongings and guide you on what should be done to organize them

This simple matrix helped me alot in deciding which of my belongings I need to keep and what to do with them afterwards.

  1. Things we need to use (high function, high emotion) - these are the things that we can use on a daily basis and create happiness and excitement in our daily lives. Do not just keep these but make sure to use them!
  2. Things we need to store (high function, low emotion) - broom, hammer, safety pins, legal documents, etc - these are things that do not really have a sentimental value but are highly functional. Keep only those that you really use and store them in convenient places so you can easily find them when needed.
  3. Things we need to display (low function, high emotion) - sentimental items like photographs, antique pieces, souvenirs and those that has personal value are very hard to discard. Keep only those that you can either display beautifully or those that are really important and needs to be safely kept. Remember to weigh the value of keeping these items vs. living a clutter free life.
  4. Things we need to toss (low function, low emotion) - things that are no longer usable, things we don't like anymore, things we keep "just in case" needs to be let go. Carefully assess the item for what it is - why you have it and why you're no longer using it. Capture the lesson these items have taught you and then let them go.

Take note of the lessons learnt

Lastly, to fully realize the value of your discarded items, take note of the lessons you've learned from them. 

Write down observations and realizations you've had from the things you've let go. You can ask yourselves simple questions like:

  • Why did I buy this particular top but never wore it? Was it because the color doesn't suit me? 
  • Where do I get most of my paper clutter? Is there a paperless option for these?
  • Why do I have a lot of expired goods? How often do I use this type of seasoning?

Make sure to write down the answers to these questions and carry them with you the next time you shop!

I hope these simple tricks will give you the confidence to face your clutter and treat yourselves to a tidy home this halloween!

Visit this page for my personal decluttering tips on how to get started!


Evelyn TayComment