Emotions when decluttering

It can be difficult to overcome emotions when decluttering and organizing your home. Emotions can come up like sadness, anxiety, overwhelm, and guilt.

Here we’ll break down these emotions and give you some ideas of how to move through them and on your way to a clutter-free and organized home.


Overwhelm & Anxiety

Overwhelm can show up when you start a project like decluttering and organizing your home, AND the emotional journey associated with it. Here are ways to help you with the overwhelm you feel is:

  • Break the project down into smaller areas or smaller goals. Instead of taking on the entire home, work room by room. If that is still too overwhelming, work section by section within that room.
  • Give yourself permission to take enough time. Scheduling the project breakdown in your calendar IS best practice, but if it takes longer than expected -that’s OK.
  • It doesn’t have to look Instagram perfect. The goal is functionality and organization for you and your family. Don’t get caught up on perfection.



You feel like a failure because you let the clutter and disorganization of your home get out of control.

You must remember to be kind to yourself through this process. Being too self-critical will only make you give up. It’s important to keep going.

Evaluate the steps you took that got you into clutter and disorganization. Then figure out what habits or routines you need to implement to maintain an organized home going forward. Check out this podcast for simple habits for a more organized home.


Fear of letting go

Every item in your home has a story. At some point, every item in your home went through a decision process. If it’s still in your home now, you made a good argument to yourself that it needed to stay. Now it’s time to revisit that argument. Most of our reasoning stems from a fear of letting go. But a fear of letting go has many roots.


You may have the fear that if you let go of something now, you’ll regret it later in the future. A popular example of regret is when you believe something will have a monetary value someday. Has someone ever said to you, “You should keep that, it may be worth money someday!”

The best solution is to have the item appraised. An appraisal will take any guess work out and make you feel better about letting it go.


If the item was a gift, you may feel guilt letting it go.

A way to overcome gift guilt is to acknowledge that you were given the gift with love and you accepted it with love. That is the only requirement in the process of gift giving. You are now free to let it go.


You may have a difficult time letting go of an item because you connect it to a time or person in the past that brought you joy or another intense emotion.

Consider writing the experience of that time down and/or taking a picture of the item and keeping it in a box or picture album. Keep the box or photo album somewhere easily accessible for the next time you want to be near them or remember a special time in your life.



There are times when you hang onto an item because you’ve attached the memory of a person or experience to that item. An example would be holding onto a piece of clothing that a loved one, who’s passed, used to wear. That item has become a symbol for that person and letting go might feel like you’re betraying them in some way; like you’re consciously letting them go instead of the item. Letting go of the item means having to deal with the feelings associated with their passing.


Overcome Emotions

These emotions can be harder to work through. Some experts recommend journaling. Psychologist Perpetual Neo PHD. says that writing can make things seem more manageable because it helps you see thought patterns and may help you sort through complex emotions.

Seeking outside help can also be very beneficial. Talk to a trusted loved one or a professional.

Remember to be kind to yourself going through this process.

Some emotions may be easier to overcome than others. It’s OK if it takes a few tries before you decide to let go of an item. If you write down clear goals and use this blog for help when faced with difficult emotions, it should get easier.



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