How to Get Rid of the Extra Clutter

Cut Emotional Ties to Clutter

Feeling the urge to purge? Here are some ways to rethink common decluttering concerns:

 “But it cost me money!”

Yes, many of our possessions come with a price tag — or two, in some cases. The price we paid to purchase the item and the price we continue to pay to keep it lying around in our home. If you don’t need it, use it, or love it, what is it doing in your home? Instead, share the item with someone who could use it by passing it along to a friend or a charity.  Alternatively you can try to sell it online or via a consignment store. Keep in mind that not everything you paid for in the past is still worth something today. Be prepared to accept that the money is already long-spent and you may only recoup a fraction of the cost.

“I might need it/fix it someday!”

Ask yourself: When did I last use this? Is it worth the space it is using up? Can I borrow a similar item from someone if I really need to use it one day?

Start a “to-do” list when you hold onto something with the idea that you will do “something” with “someday.” When you are finished decluttering a space, take a look at your to-do list and prioritize your tasks. You may decide that some items and their repair are much more important than others. It might be time to say good-bye to those things at the bottom of the list.

“But someone gave it to me!”

When a client tells me they cannot let go of something they clearly don’t need, use or love because it was a gift, I ask them to think of the gift-giver. Would this person want you to keep something they gave you if it was a burden in your life? Do you give gifts expecting people to keep them forever even if it no longer represents something positive in their lives?

“But it reminds me of ….”

Memories are locked in our hearts and our heads, not in a musty box in the attic. Carefully store away a few precious keepsakes and, if need be, take photos of the pieces you feel you can part with. These photos will trigger the memory you want to savour — without taking up too space in your home.

It is amazing how much you will gain by letting go!


Heather Cameron is an Ottawa-based professional organizer and interior decorator, helping clients cut their emotional ties to clutter at Heather is a member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) and has earned the designation of Trained Professional Organizer. She is also a member of the Canadian Decorators Association (CDECA) and is a certified Canadian Staging Professional (CSP™).