By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

For those of you who are either in the midst of decluttering and downsizing or if you were about to embark on this life-changing journey, there’s no way to minimize the impact that decluttering and downsizing can have on your emotions during the process.

While it is much easier to focus on the physical items and task at hand, it’s important not to ignore the emotional challenges that you will be facing.

Those feelings are real and cannot or should not be dismissed because it is an important part of the letting go process.

If you are in the midst of decluttering and downsizing, likely you have experienced some of these emotions:

Overwhelm and indecision

Where do I even start?

Anxiety and fear of the unknown and fear of change

What will my life be like if I leave this house I’ve lived in for many years?

Sadness and sentimentality

Saying goodbye to what you know, neighbors, friends, your house.

Letting go of things you have an emotional attachment to.

Guilt or shame

Letting go of items that were given to you that you don’t want and need.

If you’re feeling any of these emotions right now, you’re definitely not alone.

Check out Rita’s Top Lifestyle Book Recommendations from Amazon.

3 Simple Ways to Manage Emotions When You Are

Downsizing And Decluttering

1. Identify and acknowledge what you are feeling

Be brutally honest with yourself. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Don’t deny it.

Don’t ignore it.

In the middle of my own downsizing and decluttering journey, I would find myself crying for seemingly no reason at all.

But I learned to take a few minutes to sort through what I was feeling in that moment so I could move on.

If I didn’t understand it, I would talk with my siblings. Often, they saw something I didn’t see.

Often, I would cry because I was overwhelmed and exhausted, thinking the process would never end.

Another prevalent feeling for me was profound sadness about saying goodbye to the beautiful big home I worked hard to build. And also letting go of the many beautiful things I accumulated over many years.

But once I understood what I was feeling it became easier to move forward because I knew my life would be simpler and more manageable when I had less stuff.

Learn to check in with yourself. Become more self-aware of the invisible forces working inside of you.

Try not to dwell on your feelings… your overwhelm, your sadness, your stress or you will end up getting stuck.

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2. Ask for help

The process of decluttering and downsizing is a mammoth undertaking especially if you have lived in a house for many years and perhaps inherited things from your parents or loved ones.

With so many decisions to make…

·       How to choose what to keep or get rid of

·       What to do with things you want or have to get rid of

·       How to let go of sentimental items

There’s no wonder you can get decision paralysis. That’s when having a downsizing and decluttering team comes in handy.

Having someone to lean on or to share the physical and emotional challenges and barriers. Even if for an hour or two at a time, and list the help of family members and friends. The project will no longer seem so emotional, so overwhelming… and it might actually be more fun.

3. Create a vision for what you want your life to look like after decluttering and downsizing

My mantra: I wanted to live a simpler life with less

This vision helped me through many difficult and challenging moments. Keeping your vision alive will keep you moving.

·       Once you have your vision clearly established, set short and long-term goals. Write them down.

·       Measure your progress weekly and monthly

·       Celebrate your wins both large and small

·       Be grateful for how far you’ve come. Focus on that. Don’t dwell on how much you have left to do

Most important:

Take care of yourself on this downsizing and decluttering journey. It is emotional. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions.

Grow from what you learn about yourself and life during this process. Your life will definitely be simpler and less stressful on the other side.

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