At the age of 27… (sounds like the start of a song doesn’t it?) I decided to learn to drive. Talk about late bloomer! I had made getting around by public transport into an art.
Two problems with this. 1. I’m Co-ordinationally-challenged. 2. I’m seriously Co-ordinationally-challenged. It took two full sets of 6-week driving lessons before I got it right and passed my test. (Don’t worry I’m a great driver now, as long as it’s an automatic…).
The FREEDOM! It was seriously scary though, especially the motorways (The signage made no sense, I don’t want to go to Helensville! I want to go to Henderson!) Everybody else drove like bendy roads were straight and I was simply an obstruction in their path to race car glory!
Dr Zeuss had it right:
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.Dr Zeuss
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
That was it, I was OFF!
But boy did I regret not learning sooner. The places I could’ve gone! The fun I could have had!
Regret. As we get older we add to our collection of things we wish we had done, like kissing that cutie and travelling to far flung places when we were younger. We also feel regret for things we HAVE done. Declutterer’s regret is one of those things.
I often hear from people who have been deeply upset by decluttering. Often they’ve asked someone to help them to declutter, and that person threw away something precious.
Or they’ve had a decluttering brain explosion and thrown EVERYTHING out. Then they look for a family keepsake and can’t find it. Heartbreaking. This is called a Decluttering Accident. Do Not Do This! (Keep reading to find out how to avoid it…)
I’ve heard tales… even from other Professional Organisers, who’ve personally decluttered things they really wish they hadn’t.
There are three things to bear in mind if your fear of regret is holding you back from decluttering.
If you are struck by the decluttering bug follow this vital Tidy Lady Rule: Start with easier things, if you find sentimental or meaningful things put them to one side and deal with them later.
This gives you time to do some excellent decluttering of things you really don’t like, want or need and get some wonderful results that will make you much happier with your home.
Then you can turn your attention to your precious things. You have them all together in one place and can compare your feelings towards each of them. You can take your time and make measured decisions.
Letting Go Part 1: If you have lost something important to you in a decluttering accident and it’s still making you mad or sad, it’s time to let go. It’s not good for you for a start, it’s corrosive to your happiness. Also, it’s just a thing. Even if it was money, it’s still just a thing. Let go of the negative feelings associated with it’s absence, breathe, be free.
Letting Go Part 2. If you’re about to tackle a bunch of things that make you feel all the feelings follow this Tidy Lady Rule: Sort each item into one of three categories – I Love It With All My Heart | I’m Looking After It Because I Should | I Really Don’t Like It But I’ll Feel Bad If I Get Rid Of It.
Do whatever you need to do to find a new home for things in the last two categories. Read my blog post below if you need more help.
Regret is, by it’s nature, backward looking. We declutter for our future. We shed the things that do not serve us in order to live our best lives now. We declutter things that we no longer care about in order to clear our path to a happier future. We declutter our lives to be free of the things that hold us back and keep us small.
If you’re happy with your life and value every single one of your belongings, then you don’t need to declutter. If you’re not so happy with the way your home makes you feel and the things around you cause you stress or annoyance or any other negative feeling, then you probably do.
Your future self will thank you.
One of the most important things to remember when you’re decluttering is that it takes some thinking. Doing it properly takes careful consideration of the value of an object to you. Not just it’s monetary value but almost more importantly, it’s emotional value.
You’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary heartbreak.