7 Top Decluttering Fears And How To Overcome Them

Decluttering fears can creep in overtime. Decluttering your family home can feel like a never-ending task. Fear of clutter and disorder can halt all progress and create even more stress. Decluttering your home has a positive effect on your mental health, and starting with small wins such as kitchen drawers, will give you the confidence to declutter throughout the whole home. Let’s look at the most common roadblocks to clearing the clutter.

Decluttering Fears | What Are The Main Reasons it Feels so Hard to Begin Decluttering?

  • Fear of getting rid of your own stuff
  • Fear of throwing away items you have collected over the years
  • Fear of wasting money
  • Disposophobia – fear of getting rid of things that can lead to hoarding
  • Fear of losing happy memories by letting go of sentimental items
  • Fear of losing control over your space

Why Can’t I Declutter? 

All that clutter that has been building up, every item, represents a conscious decision to brush aside the reason you bought it in the first place.

It’s sometimes easier to ignore the problem instead of facing it head-on.  All that clutter and fear are keeping you trapped. Don’t let your decluttering fears hold you back from the freedom of an organized space.

Clutter and Anxiety 

Feeling emotional about letting go of personal possessions is normal and can make you feel out of control and vulnerable. If you are struggling to declutter and are feeling paralyzed by the fear of letting go of your possessions – you are not alone.  

The fear of letting go of your clutter is keeping you trapped in a cycle – you feel a sense of control as you have your “stuff,” but really, your (unwanted) “stuff” is controlling and trapping you. 

The safety and security we feel surrounded by clutter is emotional and can trigger anxiety. And for this reason, it’s so important not to go it alone.

Enlist your family, friends, or neighbors for help and support when taking the first steps towards decluttering. Having that support will give you the confidence and accountability to move forward and clear your clutter for good.

Keep or discard clothing for donations. Having clutter in your home increases stress and anxiety.  Decluttering fear and anxiety can overwhelm you, don't let the fear of starting affect your end goal of decluttering your home.

Common Decluttering Fears Which Are Holding You Back 

  1. Sentimental Items You Can’t Bring Yourself To Throw Away  
  1. You Are Throwing Away Items You Spent Hard Earned Money On 
  1. You May Need It Someday – Why Should You Throw It Out? 
  1. It Will Fit Me Someday – I Should Keep It Until Then 
  1. Keeping Things To Fix-Up & Mend At a Later Date 
  1. What If You Throw It Out Then Need To Replace It? A Waste Of Money! 
  1. So Overwhelmed About The Stuff You Have Accumulated Over The Years But No Idea Where to Even Start. 
Decluttering a bedroom. Having clutter in your home increases stress and anxiety. Declutter, clean and organize your home to get rid of the negative energy as well as create an ordered, harmonious space.  Decluttering fear and anxiety can overwhelm you, don't let the fear of starting affect your end goal of decluttering your home.

Let’s Answer The Most Common Decluttering Fears 

How do you move forward when you are crippled with fear surrounding decluttering?

If you find yourself feeling anxious, even at the thought of decluttering, you are not alone.

Fear of losing your items, which makes you feel insecure, is common. Let’s answer those fears one by one. 

#1. Letting Go Of Sentimental Items 

If you are sentimental about some items, take a photo of them and create an album in which you can look at it whenever you feel the need and pass it on later down the road.

You may be Saving precious items you think your kids will want when they have no interest in keeping them in reality. 

#2. Throwing Away Costly Items 

You’ve spent good money on costly personal belongings. Your home is full to the brim of many expensive items taking up precious space.  

But ask yourself, do you use it? Will you use it? Do you or anyone in your family have any use for it?  

Chances are as you go through your items, there will be many redundant ones you will never use again. You are holding on to them because of a sense of what they cost you at the time. But the money has been spent. It’s gone. So, as you journey through your clutter and sort out what you don’t need or use. You can either; 

  1. Sell unwanted items to recover some of the money you originally spent 
  1. Donate to a charity which will ultimately help the charity financially and be bought by someone who wants or needs to use the item 

Reclaiming your space by making decluttering a priority can be fraught with obstacles. But by changing your mindset and reminding yourself why you are decluttering, you can move ahead faster.  

Don’t forget another bonus to clearing out the unwanted mess from your home (even those tricky, expensive items) is cheaper home insurance. Once you have decluttered, it’s certainly worth getting a new quote, which can save you so much money. Decluttering fears surrounding more costly items can be solved by looking at the logical reasons for letting go of them; taking up to much space, saving money on home insurance, or even making some money by selling the item.

Woman holding knitted items. Having clutter in your home increases stress and anxiety. Declutter, clean and organize your home to get rid of the negative energy as well as create an ordered, harmonious space. Decluttering fear and anxiety can overwhelm you, don't let the fear of starting affect your end goal of decluttering your home.

# 3. What If You Need It Again? 

Chances are if your clutter has been stuffed to one side for many months, you don’t and won’t need it again. Having a harsh mindset surrounding clutter is very productive.  

Confronting the mess is often the most intimidating part of decluttering, really think about why you need to hang on to the items. Is it for fear of letting go (of the money that has already been spent)?

Or the regret you will feel when it’s gone? Be strong and let go of unwanted items you know you won’t use again. Remind yourself that if you declutter, sell or donate them, you can always find friends or family to borrow from in the future. 

#4. Keeping Clothing In Different Sizes 

One of the most common reasons closets have no space left in them is because they are full of clothes being kept “just in case” they will fit again in the future. Having smaller or bigger sized clothes tucked away in drawers and closets adds to the clutter issue and harms self-esteem and body positivity. 

Keeping clothes in assorted sizes will stop you in your decluttering tracks and give you a negative mindset about your body. Taking every clothing item out, Marie Kondo style, and going through each one will help you declutter and realize you don’t need to hang on to them any longer.  

Having a clothing purge in this way will help you free up needed space and free you of negative body issues by having to face “goal weight clothes” every time you open your closet. You don’t need that kind of negativity from your clothes! 

#5. Keeping Clutter To Make Do and Mend 

This one, for many, is a major stumbling block. Keeping items you know you can use or *think*  you can mend later is a clutter habit.  

Having the practices, our grandmas taught us to “make do and mend” is ingrained and hard to break. But ask yourself if it’s an item that is gathering dust, unused for years, will you really mend it and breathe new life into it?  

Our grandma’s practices were about making the best of what you have, making things last—not keeping every last item -” just in case.” 

Decluttering fears surrounding holding onto items that could be mended and brought back to life is common. Rather than keeping items to mend later, sort through all the items that can leave the house today. The ones you are certain you won’t consider mending at any time.

Knitted jumpers collection. Having clutter in your home increases stress and anxiety. Declutter, clean and organize your home to get rid of the negative energy as well as create an ordered, harmonious space. Decluttering fear and anxiety can overwhelm you, don't let the fear of starting affect your end goal of decluttering your home.

#6. Keeping Items You May Have To Replace Later 

Decluttering is all about reducing the mess.

Making a choice and finding why you want to have less is the first step. As you progress through your home, there will be times you stop and think, why should I get rid of this or that? What if I do need to replace it at more expense?  

Instead of dwelling on the maybe’s, think about it in this light. If you declutter an item and find next month or next year, you need to use it again.

Borrow it from friends or neighbors. Rent it from a hardware store. Find an alternative to buying and replacing it. 

#7. Overwhelmed With Clutter and Chaos And Don’t Know How To Start 

The chaos and mess have taken control of you and your personal space. As hard as it is, you have identified you are overwhelmed and stressed by all your stuff. You are already making progress, be kind to yourself, and know that you can do it! 

Enlisting help from family or friends is your first port of call. Get support where you can; it will help you emotionally and physically shifting the clutter out of your home. 

Pick one room at a time and take baby steps to make it more manageable. Have three boxes, one to trash, one to donate, and one to keep. Go through each area and designate every item to one of the boxes.  As soon as you complete one place or one room, get the donate and trash boxes out of the house – to the tip or to the charity shop to donate.  

At each step, set a timer for 15 minutes. It’s so motivational to have a set time and very productive too.  

Take before and after photos to spur you on. This tip worked so well as a motivational tool to forge ahead and finish the whole house. 

Flip the fear of decluttering on its head so that you can take control, tackle the clutter and reclaim your living spaces, as well as letting the anxiety and stress melt away as each piece of clutter leaves your home for good.

Read more about How to Declutter Your Home to Reduce Anxiety Anxiety and How To Declutter Without Feeling Overwhelmed for more inspiration and decluttering tips.

If you want to start this month and easily declutter with a challenge, why not join my FREE 30-Day Decluttering Challenge to rid yourself of 300 unwanted items cluttering up your home in 30 days! Get instant access below to my FREE 30-Day Challenge designed to make it easier to declutter in 30 days.

The most common decluttering fears that are holding you back. Tips to move forward and let go of sentimental items to reduce stress and anxiety so that you can clear your home as well as your mind.
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