Don't fall into post-holiday de-cluttering panic!

Posted on April 24, 2012 by lessismo | 0 Comments

You may have noticed we took a sneaky day off yesterday to enjoy the last day of the school holidays. I hope you enjoyed it too.

I suspect more than a few of us may have a house that looks slightly more bedraggled than it did 2 weeks ago. The word 'bombed' might be an exaggeration. Or not.    Don't despair - order will return.  The remains of the now broken toys in the Easter Show bag are high on my target list.

For those who are starting the new term with a burst of de-cluttering enthusiasm, here is a revisit to a recent article about gentle attitudes and avoiding alienating the rest of the family while we are de-cluttering.

For starters, people fear change, at least until they realise that it will a positive change for them. Let’s be honest, if your partner came home with a new hair cut or new underwear, as nice as he looked you miiiiiiigth just wonder if the sudden change was for your benefit or someone elses. This will be especially true if they've seen you make attempts before and not manage to keep up.

They may feel safer with the mess. If they see a newly de-cluttered cupboard they may wonder if this is going to make it easier to find their toys, or result in them being told off if they do anything to mess it up. Cupboard they can find things in – GOOD, Cupboard that gets them into trouble - BAD.

It may make them feel guilty. “Oh, she’s cleaning out her wardrobe, I guess I should clean out mine. But I’ve got other things to do and I don’t want to. And now she’s glaring at my wardrobe while she’s cleaning hers out. Grrrr, stop cleaning that wardrobe it makes me feel bad.”

Kids can sometimes be attached to our stuff to, or to memories attached to our stuff. It may be your green furry cardigan, but if they can remember being rocked to sleep stroking it they may be resistant to seeing it go in the bin. Or maybe they are just jealous that you are spending your time with a wardrobe, rather than with them.


So how do we address all that resistance???

First of all, we have to adopt a kind and gentle de-cluttering attitude. It is not at all unreasonable to want to flay someone who has just messed up something you’ve tidied, or piled their own stuff in a spot that you de-cluttered. HOWEVER, make a leap of faith here and just let it go for a month or two. Take a deep breath, smile, and be elsewhere until the murderous impulses subside.

Next, lower your expectations of others - I know it feels frustrating when you are the only one playing the game. But you are going to get more co-operation in the long run if you make the whole de-cluttering operation a fun, friendly affair than a grueling route march. “You should …..” is a phrase that needs to go.

Being open about the resistance - “I get the feeling that me cleaning out this cupboard is making you uncomfortable” can help clear the air (and the cupboard). If little Olivia is unhappy about tossing the old green cardigan, perhaps you can cut a swatch out of it and get it sewn to her blankey or made into a cushion. Most corner dry cleaners can sort out easy sewing jobs like that for you. Or perhaps putting a photograph of it in the family album will be enough to put Olivia’s mind at rest.


I hope these techniques help. If you have some great ides about dealing with the resistance monster, please email them to me.

Posted in de-clutter, Kids, resistance; psychology



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