Why is decluttering so hard?

Decluttering should feel good, shouldn’t it? After all, the benefits of clearing our homes, heads, and hearts of clutter are obvious. So why is the process so difficult, and why does it hurt?

I hate dust. And worse, I’m allergic to it. Well, technically I’m allergic to the billions of dust mites that colonize and multiply in it, but that’s beside the point. While I’d love to be able to make the case that I can’t dust my house because I’m allergic to dust, that’s precisely the reason why I need to keep my house dust-free.

Clutter, the kind we see and the kind we can’t see, is like energetic dust. Think of clutter as tiny bits of “stuff” … painful memories, disappointments, unfulfilled dreams, unfinished projects, failed relationships.

The things we hold on to that no longer serve us settle on the surfaces of our lives, clouding our vision and stifling our energy. Because the individual particles are so tiny, by the time we become consciously aware enough to notice the dust, and then become disgusted enough by it to do something about it, the issue has already settled in and made itself at home. And if we’re allergic, we’ve already started suffering the symptoms.

It’s not the objects themselves that are difficult to let go of, it’s the emotional and energetic connections we still have with them. We overlook this energetic dust and allow it to accumulate at our own peril.

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary

so the necessary may speak."

~ Hans Hoffman

Acknowledging that the process is painful is the first step in moving forward. Then, fortifying ourselves with energy boosters during the decluttering process will help ease the discomfort.

I find that burning aromatherapy oils like orange, lemon, lemongrass, or peppermint (or a combination of two or more) help lift my spirits. Listening to uplifting music also helps. While I’m decluttering, I remind myself of how much better I’m going to feel when my home, my head, and my heart are clear.

Deciding on a nice reward for reaching a specific decluttering goal also helps. A Netflix binge of a great show (guilty pleasure alert!), a nice glass of wine in front of the fireplace, having Chinese food or pizza delivered for an indoor picnic, or a photo scavenger hunt in a place I’ve never been are some of the ways I reward myself for a job well done.

So… you can live with the dust or you can pull out that metaphorical dust rag and mop and let the sunshine in! I’d say today is a good day to start clearing.

But before you do, check out my blog post about what I wish I’d known about decluttering before I started.

Living our best lives,


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