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Why is it so hard to let go?

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You’ve probably heard me say a hundred times that all clutter is delayed decisions. Well if we know that, why don’t we just make the decisions? We don’t make the decisions because we’re so busy that we don’t have time to slow down and think through why we are keeping things. Here are just a couple of common reasons that people hold on to things. (**In July 2016, I finished my book about this very subject which goes into even more in depth details and insight. Get your copy of The Truth About Clutter: Why Am I Holding on to This.)


  • I might need it someday. – Most people hold on to things long after they should because they’re afraid that they might need it someday. If we take the time to really think through why we might need it, we’ll be able to make a concious decision about the actual value of keeping things.
  • The belongings of a loved one that has died. – People are afraid to let go of the belongings of a loved one that has died because they may fear that they’ll forget them. Or they may feel like if they let go of their stuff it will signify that they no longer love them and so it feels like you are betraying your lost loved one. Taking the time to acknowledge that you may be feeling this way will help you realize how off-base this fear is.


Letting go means saying goodbye to things, people or a time that you’re not ready to say goodbye to. It’s usually not the item that you want to keep, it’s what the item represents.

  • The mug you got in the Bahamas with your Mom when she was alive. You’re not ready to admit she is gone.
  • Clothes that are too small. You’re not ready to admit that you’ve gained weight and probably won’t fit back into that size again
  • Things your children have outgrown. You’re not ready to admit they’ve grown up or that you’ve gotten older.
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