There are so many hidden emotional layers when it comes to decluttering and downsizing our homes things that no one wants to admit or talk about.

On the surface, we all know how physically taxing and exhausting it can be.

We also know how much time it is likely to take to sort, donate, and dispose of many of the possessions we accumulated over many years.

But what we are often unwilling, or perhaps too scared to talk about is how emotionally confronting it can be so we tend not to talk about it or hide it deep within ourselves.

As a result, we hide the real reasons why we are afraid because on some level we realize that clutter is not just what we see in front of us, but also the impact that it has inside of us.

Confronting the Fears of Clutter

Until we decide to confront those fears of why clutter has such a strong hold on us, things will remain the same. No permanent change will take place. We will remain stuck in our own clutter.

Decluttering and downsizing should not be scary because:

  • Once you start to understand, what’s been holding you…
  • Once you stop with the excuses of why you can’t let go of your stuff…

You can then stop being afraid and move forward.

If we want to know one of the top reasons why clutter scares us, it is that our identity is confronted. We’re challenged when we have to let go of our stuff or move to another home or neighborhood.

  1. OUR HOMES AND OUR STUFF DEFINE WHO WE ARE and they also define how we want others to perceive us. 
  • I.e., The big house, the nice car, and designer clothing, all represent our success to not just ourselves, but also others.

2. OUR HOMES AND OUR STUFF ARE WHAT MAKE US UNIQUE. It makes us feel safe and secure.


  • House: where we raised our kids and had birthday parties and family dinners.
  • Old pictures: remind us of our youth, being a young mother, or now being an empty nester, with the kids, grown and gone.
  • Clothes in our closet: remind us of when we used to be a size 6 or 8.

4. OUR HOMES AND OUR STUFF REMIND US OF WHO WE ONCE WANTED TO BE. This may or may not have already happened.

Books: may suggest we aspire to be a motivational speaker or famous author.

Videos and CDs: may suggest we hoped to run a marathon, or do an Iron Man one day, or perhaps climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

It’s scary to let go of all the stuff that reminds us of:

  • Who we are.
  • Who we were.
  • Who we wanted to be.

We make excuses for why we can’t let go.

  • I can’t let go of “X” because I might need it someday (so we hold onto it).
  • I can’t let go of that dress because I might lose 10 pounds and fit into it again.
  • I can’t let go of photos, china, crystal because I might lose memories of my mother.
  • I can’t move or declutter because I have too much stuff, and too many memories, and besides, my kids grew up here.

Overcoming the Fear of Change and Embracing a New Path

These convenient excuses keep us from or stop us from decluttering, downsizing, moving on, and changing. We use these excuses over and over again to justify staying right where we are because change is scary and change is hard.


  • Once we see these excuses for what they really are. (Obstacles and barriers)
  • Once we decide to confront them by challenging, outdated identity and beliefs.
  • Once we admit they’ve limited our thinking and our actions.
  • Once we come to terms with the fact that we’ve grown, we’ve changed, and that our lives are different now (kids are grown, the big house doesn’t suit us anymore and we want a different lifestyle as empty-nesters).

We can then start to see the benefits of decluttering and possibly moving to a smaller, more affordable, and more manageable home. With less stuff will be more agile, free to travel, and explore. Will have more time to pursue new interests. Will also save money on maintenance costs.

We’ll start to get excited about new opportunities ahead… we are no longer scared. We’ll actually start to embrace the idea of decluttering and downsizing.

Yes, we realize it won’t be easy and there’s a lot of work ahead of us, but we also realize it will be worth it on the other side! 

Preventing Decluttering Regret: How to Do It

If this topic resonates with you and if you are stuck or trapped on your decluttering and downsizing journey, I invite you to spend some time thinking about what’s been scaring you and stopping you.

Please share this blog and talk about it with others who are going through similar challenges.

Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and know you can always email me at with any questions you might have.

Announcing A Brand-New Workbook

On another note, I’m so excited to tell you that we just launched a brand-new workbook called Rita’s Minimalist Essentials. It’s now available on my website. See the link below. 

It’s a 60-page all-in-one decluttering companion and planner. It’s intended to help you jumpstart your decluttering journey.

It’s packed with

  • 5-Step Guide to help you let go of sentimental items.
  • 30-day decluttering challenge.
  • Checklists.
  • Accountability tracker, AND SO MUCH MORE.


Click here to get your own copy!

$9.99 introductory price for a limited time only!

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Do you want to learn more about downsizing and decluttering? You can also connect with me by following me on Facebook and LinkedIn. Would you like complimentary advice from the downsizing designer? My book Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Your Lifestyle: Secrets to More Time, Money, and Freedom is now available in paperbackaudio, and on Kindle! Get your copy soon.