how to declutter
LIFE

How to Declutter When You’re Secretly a Hoarder

I consider myself to be a minimalist, but I didn’t realize how much of a hoarder I am until Honey Bear moved into my apartment. I thought I knew how to declutter, but the experience is different when combining lives with another person. In addition to creating room in my apartment for his stuff, we had to get rid of duplicate household items. We did another purge during our spring cleaning this year, resulting in bags of stuff I stashed away out of sheer laziness.

how to declutter

The best way to stop hoarding is to deal with it directly.

So last weekend, I got rid of a bunch of shit. I shredded two shopping bags of old papers, something that had been hovering on my to-do list for weeks. I’d been avoiding it because it’s a mundane task, but it was pretty cathartic once I got around to it. I found photos, cards, and trinkets noting fond memories of my family and friends. I cried a little bit and took pictures of meaningful things I could no longer keep. If I have to let it go, at least have digital backups. Tears aside, most of that stuff was junk that I was more than happy to destroy. Needless reminders of the past were crowding our space; if it’s not relevant to now it simply had to go.

I also managed to clear out the closet near our front entrance, where I had stashed six bags of clothes destined for donation. I’d been hoarding them since Honey Bear and I purged our wardrobes two months ago. The closet was bulging with hangers, clothes, and shoes that we would never use again. After dropping the clothes off at Goodwill I was able to reclaim some space and reorganize the inside closet door to neatly store cleaning supplies.

how to declutter

On an emotional level, decluttering is an inherently self-evaluating experience. Sometimes, it’s hard to even start the process because we are so attached to and overwhelmed with our physical belongings. Decluttering forces us to inventory ourselves to decide what is necessary to our lives. There will be moments of sentimentality, and spending habits will be questioned. With every purge, we gain tiny little insights about ourselves. If the decluttering experience doesn’t give you clarity on what you want, at least it will show what you no longer need. Removing the unnecessary creates room in your life for the new.

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