Why is Decluttering So Hard

We’ve all been there before. We get a burst of inspiration to tackle our clutter and an hour or so later we are sitting surrounded by piles of stuff on the verge of tears. Can you relate?

Getting rid of stuff is hard. It’s overwhelming, exhausting, and draining. It’s making decision after decision… which we all know leads to decision fatigue. Clutter can take many forms. It’s gifts we’ve received, a free item we felt obligated to take, it’s memories or possessions from loved ones. 

It’s an accumulation of stuff that can weigh us down. It’s spare bedrooms filled to the brim with things we never see or use. It’s kitchen counters that are never empty. It’s the garages that are so crammed full we can’t even fit our cars inside.

We know we have too much stuff but getting rid of things just feels impossible. It’s just ‘stuff’ so why it is so hard?

In this blog, I’m going to share 3 reasons that make getting rid of clutter a struggle. Through my own decluttering journey, as well as with clients, I’ve discovered these same three reasons time and time again. Let’s jump in! 

3 Reasons Why Decluttering is Hard


Have you ever heard of or experienced buyer’s remorse? It can happen to us all. We go out shopping and we buy clothes that we end up only wearing a few times or food we end up wasting because we wanted to try a new recipe. 

We of course have great intentions, but then life happens and things get in the way. Time goes on and that dress we bought just doesn’t look as great as we remember. That food we wanted to use for that new recipe – well now it expired. This is how we slowly start to accumulate stuff.  

So how do we overcome this? Well first, let me encourage you to give yourself some grace and forgiveness. Beating yourself up won’t change anything. Once you recognize this pattern of buyer’s guilt you can start to change some habits that will directly change your outcome. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Before shopping for clothes, take inventory of what you have. Do you really need that 5th pair of shoes? And don’t get me wrong, if you really want them and you know you are going to wear them – get them! Perhaps then implement the 1 in 1 out rule. When you bring something new into your wardrobe, 1 item must be removed. 
  • Set a budget. When shopping without a budget it’s easy to get caught up in the high of buying things. When you know how much you have to spend, you will be much more intentional about what you spend your hard-earned money on.


Getting rid of things can be especially hard because of fear. What if I need this one day? What if I gain weight? What if this becomes valuable?  Fear is a big motivator for why we are unwilling to part with our clutter. 

As much as I would like to tell you there is some easy secret to overcoming this fear – there isn’t. Instead, it’s about simply making the decision to move forward and not let that fear stop you. If your desire is to simplify, to own a smaller wardrobe, or to have free space, then you must commit to getting rid of the things standing in your way. 


This last one ties closely to guilt. We commonly feel shame about getting rid of clutter especially when it relates to items we have been given from loved ones that have passed away. I can’t tell you the number of clients I have that are left with storage units filled with stuff from deceased parents or other relatives that they have no idea what to do with. 

This is such a hard situation because we want to honor & remember those that we  have lost but keeping all of their stuff feels overwhelming. Not only can it be overwhelming, but depending on the amount of stuff it can also be financially taxing.

In moments like these, it’s important to remember that memories can never be taken away, and ‘stuff’ that loved ones left behind is no indicator of your love or memory of them. It’s ok to keep the things close to your heart, and it’s ok to donate, sell, or get rid of the things that are causing you stress or overwhelm. Just because you decide to declutter a loved one’s items that were left to you, does not mean you no longer remember or care about that person. I can promise you that those loved ones wouldn’t want you to feel burdened by their ‘stuff’ 

Don’t Do It Alone

Cutting the clutter out of your life is not an easy task and certainly not one you have to go through alone. As a Professional Organizer, my job is to support my clients in their decisions.

Remember that while some people might declutter on their own, you don’t have to. It’s ok to get help and ask for support with decluttering. It’s an emotional process and having a professional to help you through can make the process much more enjoyable.

If you are interested in getting help with your decluttering and organizing the team and I here at Pretty Neat would be honored to serve you. Simply contact us to book a free consultation and begin the journey.