I have tried many, many methods of decluttering espoused by various "experts". Discarding one item a day, playing my version of the minimizing game where you discard one item on the first day, then two on the second day and so on. And while they all have their merits, a lot of these organizing and decluttering experts assume that, by the time you discover their method(s), you are ready to jump right into decluttering and that, once done, you never have to do it again. They don't really cover the emotional springboard required before the whirlwind of decluttering commences. Based on my own experience, I have found that I have to be emotionally ready to do it. Declutter my childhood teddy bear? No way! To be honest, I have gotten rid of a couple things that I regret parting with. At the time, I felt like I "had" to get rid of it as it was taking up space and wasn't being used. But I loved it and thought it lovely. I think I fell into the trap of playing a numbers game and worried that, if I didn't constantly declutter, I was being a bad declutterer and that, at any minute, the declutter/minimalism police was going to show up at my door. Afterwards, I felt a simmering resentment inside of me and, for a long time, thought about what I had discarded (hoarders, stop reading if this is causing you palpitations!). No, I wasn't prostrate with grief and lived to tell the tale but, looking back, I know now that the only person I am accountable to in my decluttering efforts is myself (and to some degree, the people I live with). If I want to keep my childhood teddy bear, I will! And placing it in a tree in a forest, as some suggest, or placing a bag over its head doesn't really alleviate the sadness if you feel you are being forced to do it. In fact, if you do have a strong emotional attachment to something, being forced to do something you don't want to do, can make you cling on even more. So, I think that before starting your decluttering efforts, ask yourself if you are truly ready?
Once you have completed your decluttering campaign, you may think that you never have to do it again. Wrong! Unless you are a hardcore minimalist, life changes and you change. One day, you might look at that thing that you looked at a million times and thought you could never part with and suddenly decide that its usefulness is over and you are ready to part with it. And that's fine. You haven't failed. Our homes should move and flow with our lives and be a true reflection of it.
Are you in the midst of Spring Cleaning? Any suggestions to make the process easier?