The Most Common Decluttering Mistakes & How to Fix Them

by Simplify

Let’s discuss some of the decluttering mistakes we all make. The ultimate free pass to any clutter is the “just in case” excuse. You can apply that thinking to any item and you will never be able to get rid of anything.

It’s hard to get rid of things you think may be of value at some point. It’s especially hard if you’ve experienced tough times when you couldn’t purchase things you needed. We think we should keep things just in case because we’re stuck in a scarcity mindset.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding about keeping “just in case” items. Could you make do with something else? Say you have a pair of red heels you want to keep in case you need them.

If you didn’t have them, would you need to run out and buy another pair of red heels, or would you be able to wear a neutral color instead?

Ask yourself if this is something you will use in the next 6 months. What would be the worst-case scenario if you don’t have it when you need it? Is this something you can borrow or rent? Would you remember where it is when you need it?

Things to declutter

We also procrastinate and don’t make time to sit down and sort through what we have. Getting rid of things can be a chore. What are you going to do with it? Do you throw it out? Sell it? Donate it? We don’t want to bother with all these decisions.

Decluttering mistakes

For most of us, the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough, it’s that we have too much. Everything you keep takes up your time, space, and attention.

Clear out your “just in case” items. Enjoy the freedom that comes from having less clutter to manage.

For more decluttering tips, discover these important things to declutter for 2023 or these minimalism tips that will help you get better at decluttering.

To see more videos, check out the But First, Coffee YouTube channel.

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3 of 14 comments
  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 05, 2023

    Thank you for sharing your "label" of "just in case"! Unfortunately I identify with that label. But what system may I be able to use now that I'm old,disabled and everyone I used to know is either dead or gone in whatever sense? I love to donate to the church/whomever. But, in my perdicament, I could REALLY use the money, if there are items that are sealable. Any ideas? Thank you.

    • Brenda Brandt Deason Brenda Brandt Deason on Jan 05, 2023

      Could you partner with someone who could also use some money? I've had success with telling someone who was willing, "I want $20 for this item, but if you sell it for more, you can keep the difference." You would probably get more money selling it yourself, but you are also helping someone out this way.

      Another thought is to contact someone who does estate sales. It wouldn't hurt to ask if they would buy all of your unwanted items for one price. That way you would get everything taken out of the house as a bonus.

      In my small town, we have a Buy-Nothing Facebook group. The rules state that you can't sell items that you receive for free. It's based on trust. Even though you might give away valuable items, you might be able to get something you need from another person for free. I understand that in your situation you would probably prefer money, but this system of generosity actually works really well.

  • Nimfa Dg Nimfa Dg on Jan 06, 2023

    Oh, I admit, I'm that kind of a homemaker and I get satisfaction out of repurposing something that I've been keeping just in case. But of viurse, there is a hood time to tackle some purging before my space gets out of control. I subscribe to the idea that it's ok to be messy because you live in your space - just know when to act on the mess and clutter to stay in control.