Decluttering strips away all the non-essentials in your life. When you declutter, you are left with everything that’s worthy of your time, your money and your attention. You are surrounded by things that you use, things that you need, and things that you love. That sounds great, right?

Why would the fear of simplifying even exist?

Let’s say you’re ready to live your ideal life and get rid of anything that isn’t in line with that vision. You know clutter is keeping you stuck, but you still can’t commit to letting go. What is causing you to hesitate? The fear of simplifying. Plain and simple. 

Our identities and beliefs become entangled with our belongings.

Decluttering and simplifying can make us feel vulnerable because they strip away everything we’ve been hiding behind. Getting rid of all non-essentials can be scary because you feel naked and exposed.

The Fear of Simplifying Is Not Your Truth

Luckily, fear is just fear. It’s not reality. You feel it in your body because you’re having an emotional response to your thoughts. Thoughts that cause you to second guess yourself, judge yourself and worry about others  judging you will keep you stuck in the clutter. Have you ever convinced yourself to keep something you don’t like? I have. Here are some lies I’ve told myself about decluttering. I can’t get rid of it because…

  • It’s a part of my identity (certain clothing, certain habits, certain beliefs)
  • It was a gift, so it would be rude/mean/selfish to get rid of it. I would hurt the gift-giver’s feelings.
  • I am being ungrateful and/or disrespectful for not wanting to keep a family heirloom.
  • Throwing out old items is the same as throwing memories in the trash.
  • Getting rid of something I spent good money on is wasteful and irresponsible.
  • As soon as I throw it away, I’m gonna need it.

That wasn’t me talking; that was my fear. If you have similar thoughts, you are tuning into fear. It’s telling you that you are not good enough, smart enough or worthy enough to untether yourself from the clutter. Fear is a liar.

Listen To The Truths Hiding Inside The Fear

  • Truth: You are not defined by the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the outdated ideas you hold in your mind. You are always changing and evolving, and you are allowed (dare I say, you are required) to release the old version of yourself so that you can embrace who you are in this moment.
  • Truth: Getting rid of an old gift doesn’t represent how you feel about the person who gave it to you. If it’s a solid relationship, the gift-giver will still care for you. In fact, you are probably making a bigger deal about it than they would. Let it go. 
  • Truth: Family traditions and family values may be better served if you pass an heirloom onto someone who actually wants it, even if that means selling it. Your deceased relatives don’t care, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
  • Truth: Things are not memories. If you need an item to remember something, maybe it’s not really an important, core memory for you, and that’s OK. Open up space to make new memories.
  • Truth: Getting rid of something doesn’t waste money. The money was already “wasted” when you bought it. 

Your Worries and Fears Are Valid

Decluttering and simplifying forces authenticity; it exposes you to the bare bones of who you really are. Being forced to separate your identity from your stuff and your beliefs isn’t always comfortable. Your crutches are now in the donation box, and you have to ask yourself some questions:

  • Who are you if you aren’t a teacher/nurse/business owner/insert your profession here?
  • Who are you if you aren’t the boy-mom who drives the big suburban around or the dance-mom?
  • Who are you without the clothes/the shoes/the make-up/the hair/the botox?

Strip it all away. I would like to introduce you to You. Give her a big hug, sit down and have a cup of tea with her. I think you’ll find that you have a lot in common. Stop judging her. Stop expecting so damn much from her. Let her be her, because she’s pretty amazing.

Let go of your fear, so you can let go of the clutter and find yourself.

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