A few thoughts on what goes through my mind during the decluttering process:
1. Some days I really feel like decluttering, and other days I do not. If you're in a weepy kinda mood, I suggest waiting until you're in a better mood. My packrat tendencies tend to be strongest when I am feeling blue, and I am much less ruthless. It's ok to leave it for a day or two, but not for months on end.
2. Decluttering starts off quite easy because there is an abundance of items to get rid of, and the process starts to become fun (yes really). It then gets harder because there are fewer obvious things to purge. However, you're also getting better at decluttering, so you're able to identify and part with items that you perhaps would not have purged a few months ago. This is why I do not recommend doing a huge purge because a) it'll be emotionally draining and b) you will probably keep stuff that you may not have kept if you decluttered more gradually and regularly.
3. It's ok to take some time to think. You will come across items that you want to get rid of, but you just can't. And that's fine. Sometimes there isn't really any tangible reason as to why you want to hold onto it. When I encounter items like this, I put them in the 'donate' box and leave them there for a few days (or even weeks). If I don't take that item out of the box, it's safe to say I really want to get rid of it. If it's an item that can't be donated, I just think about it for a few days/weeks and if I get a strong urge to declutter, I take that opportunity to do so.
4. Sometimes you won't be motivated to declutter, but you know you have to. I like to visit home organization and decluttering blogs for inspiration. I get that this probably sounds really dorky to some of you 🙂 Some of my favorites are: Live Simply by Annie, Unclutterer, and The Minimalists.
5. Sometimes I over think things and wonder why either a) I am so hell-bent on decluttering and it freaks me out a little or b) I wonder what the point of decluttering even is and start to think it's a waste of time. When this happens, I remind myself of the core reasons why I declutter. Everyone is different, but for me it really boils down to having fewer, nicer things in my home and having to spend less time on housework. I feel calmer when there's a place for everything and everything is in its place, and when those places aren't packed to the brim with stuff.
6. Guilt and decluttering go hand in hand. For me, that's the unfortunate truth. I've gotten better at dealing with it, but sometimes it still creeps up on me. Guilt can range from feeling bad about spending money on something you never use to getting rid of gifts. To mitigate guilt, I do a number of different things. The idea that an item is going to a better home certainly reduces my guilt, so I donate whatever I think someone will get good use of. If an item is past its usable life, I acknowledge that it has served me well and then I thank it out loud before I chuck it. I don't think this is an original idea, but it helps me feel better (yes, I tend to personify things). If it's a gift I don't like (thankfully this issue doesn't happen often as my family picks great gifts), I remind myself that their intent was not to burden me with something I don't like. If I am feeling guilt for wasting money, I tell myself that it's a sunk cost. The money has been spent. Life is too short to feel bad about stuff like that. If I can't recoup the cost by selling the item, I try to give it away and at least someone else is enjoying it. The bottom line is that holding onto items that do nothing but induce guilt is a total waste of time and space (and in some cases money).
7. My shopping mindset changed. I still enjoy shopping, but now I generally avoid impulse purchases and actually enjoy giving some serious thought to what I want to bring into my home. Making smarter purchases means I will have less clutter in the future. Before I buy something, I have a good idea where in my home it will go. Most of my impulse buys tend to be on items that are consumable rather than items that will collect dust for years to come.
You can read more of my articles on decluttering here.