Decluttering can be a valuable experience, and there are many benefits to the process. However, decluttering on its own is a fruitless effort. Without personal evaluation and insight on what your goals are, any progress you make will more likely than not, be undone.

Read on to discover why decluttering alone won’t work and how deeper personal insight can lead to lasting change in your organizing efforts.

Why decluttering alone won't work and what you need to do to make it stick.

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Decluttering doesn’t require introspection

Getting rid of stuff you haven’t used in the last year or donating an item of clothing for each new piece you bring home are one-size-fits-all rules and may be short-term fixes. They may feel artificial and may result in you not taking any action.

For the decluttering process to stick and lead to a more organized lifestyle, start setting your intentions and drawing a big picture goal; evaluate the reasons you want to make changes to your environment. You can create statements regarding your values, passions, and desires. What outcomes are you looking for in your life?

Knowing what’s essential in your life will allow you to determine your priorities and filter what has to stay and what should go.

Decluttering alone won’t help you understand your attachment to possessions

Delve a little deeper, try to actually consider the personal motivations for your attachment to the things you own. What are your personal beliefs around “stuff”?

For example, do you hold onto things because you fear to be without?

A closer look at your feelings may help you understand that you are holding onto habits from a childhood of poverty or of being raised by someone with negative beliefs about letting go of things and that it’s okay now to let go of items that don’t fit your bigger picture.

Decluttering doesn’t benefit others

When we declutter mindlessly we do little to help others who could benefit from what we’re letting go. Taking steps to get rid of some things and tidy up, without understanding your reasons for doing so, rarely leads to the kinds of results that could come from purposeful action. When you understand what you hope to gain from this release of clutter, you can significantly pare down your possessions, allowing more people to benefit from your abundance.

Taking steps to get rid of some things and tidy up, without understanding your reasons for doing so, rarely leads to the kinds of results that could come from purposeful action. When you understand what you want to achieve from releasing the clutter, you can significantly pare down your possessions, allowing, even more, people to benefit from your abundance.

Decluttering has no impact on your finances

It’s very common to believe that you’ll make a lot of money by selling the items you want to let go but it’s my experience that people will overestimate the value of what they own, except in rare cases of antiques or obviously valuable items.

You may think decluttering can help you raise some cash, however, even if you raise some money, without examining what led you to acquire so much stuff in the first place and evaluating your priorities in life, you’re doomed to go back to the old pattern of buying more stuff just to replace what you’ve sold. 

Decluttering alone rarely leads to lifestyle changes

Mindless decluttering is temporary. Your clean and organized environment is merely a facade that isn’t likely to last because it lacks the foundation of your intentions and a big picture goal.

If you want to change your life by implementing healthy changes and making positive strides, you first must do the work of introspection, of searching what you want to accomplish, what functions will that space hold.

Taking time to evaluate what has led to your clutter and to consider your lifestyle goals will go a long way toward creating a soothing home environment that lasts. Decluttering doesn’t work on its own, but combining it with mindfulness will lead you to successful changes.

Learn more ways to declutter and free your life and your mind from excess here.

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