How to Make Tough Decluttering Decisions

Ana Goldberg
by Ana Goldberg

The things that we keep are the nest for our memories, dreams, stories, and comforting moments. Some are easy to let go of and some are more challenging to leave behind due to a variety of personal reasons.

I'm currently in the process of consolidating everything that I have and making declutter decisions about what I really want to bring along into this new life chapter.

So join me today as I discover how to make hard decisions about decluttering.

Framed photo

When to declutter

I've already left so many things behind last year, and after downsizing everything to just one suitcase and a daypack, I've brought only the most beloved essentials.

But it's time for change and renewal, and today I want to share with you the three things that I've decided to declutter.

Suitcase wheels

These things have traveled with me across multiple borders, taking up space not only in my suitcase but also in my mind.

And while making that decision, I finally understood what actually was standing behind them and why it was so difficult to decide whether to declutter them or not.

And now I know what I'm really letting go of with them. Maybe you can relate to my thoughts, and maybe we have a lot in common, maybe we don’t, but let's see.

Folded sweaters

How to make decluttering decisions

Foldable water bottle

1. Foldable water bottle

The first thing on today's list is a foldable water bottle.

I bought this bottle about two years ago as a New Year's gift to myself. I was very much into all things zero waste and functional, and I am still into them, so I gave in and decided to purchase it.

Foldable water bottle

But today, I'm going to declutter it, because it just didn't work for me.

The silicone smell never goes away, I can feel it, the water tastes bad, and I even tried to repurpose it as a hot water bottle, but it leaks.

Foldable water bottle

I've been giving this water bottle chances over and over again, but then I asked myself why.

And I finally saw what I was afraid of letting go with that very water bottle. I was afraid to lose the image of myself as a cool and sustainable consumer, a perfect minimalist who makes things work one way or another, and a careful buyer who makes weighted decisions and who doesn't waste money on trends.

Linen pants

2. Linen pants

The second item on today's list are these linen pants.

Bought from an independent designer and seamstress, they have been worn and loved a lot. And this spring I added wide cuffs to make them align with my body more. I received a lot of compliments on them, too.

Linen pants

So, how come they ended up in a to-be-decluttered pile? Well, it's very simple. It's because I allowed myself to acknowledge that I don't love them anymore, and I also saw what kept me from letting them go: attachment to the past and routines and preferences that are gone now.

Linen pants

I didn't see these pants in my future anymore, so I decided to let them go.

I have learned a lot with these pants, such as how to make autumnal colors work with my cooler type of appearance, how to add cuffs, and how to sew them to make everything look neat.

And these skills are never going away. These skills simply cannot be decluttered, because they are so valuable.

Linen pants

All the work and skills that I've invested in them and lacking the courage to part with those efforts. The latter was actually a revelation.

Yes, I always try to keep and take good care of the things that are either handmade by me or revamped by me, but there always should be a space for maneuver. Rules are killing the fluidity and spontaneity in life, in the life of all of us.

Book of poems

3. Book of poems

The third thing that I've decided to declutter is the book of poems. This book has a very interesting story. It's written by one of my beloved Russian-speaking poets, whose name is Alexander Vedensky.

Book of poems

First, I read his poems when I was only 15, and back then he wasn't even officially published in the country, because during the Soviet times he was arrested, imprisoned, and eventually died in camps as someone who the regime didn't like.

This is the first complete edition of his works. It's a very rare book. It traveled with me a lot, but going through my possessions lately, I try to remember when I opened it the last time, when I truly read it. It was months ago.

Book of poems

Many of his poems I know by heart, and I have many of them written in my journals as well. I've grown a lot with this book, and I started writing poems when I was 15, heavily influenced by this author.

But now, I'm 40, and I create so much more, and I know so much more now. Maybe it's not that humble to say these things, but this is how I feel. I want to let go of this ceiling. Yes, this is how I feel, that this book is the embodiment of a ceiling and of the boundaries that I set for my own self-growth and self-development.

Decluttering decisions

Letting go of things is never easy, but it is important to remember that the most valuable and precious things we always carry with us, in our hearts.

Feel free to share in the comments your thoughts and experiences, what decluttering decisions, recent or not recent, were the toughest for you and why.

Join the conversation
  • Debbie Little Debbie Little on Oct 18, 2023
    Recently,it became necessary for my 92 yr.old mom,to de&clutter her belongings.I was very proud of her for getting rid of 60 yrs.worth of clutter.A lot of stuff she didn't even
    • Zsm7194834 Zsm7194834 on Nov 30, 2023
      I'm so impressed she managed this. I'm 78, and trying to clear 3 rooms full of important and rubbish papers all mixed up, amazing books and memorabilia, belonging to my late husband and me. I know how tough it is, physically and emotionally. Kudos to your mom for achieving this. She gives me the courage and hope that I can do it too.