On Decluttering The Wrong Things

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I was asked a question the other day…

About whether I had ever regretted, decluttering any of my things. And surprisingly, the answer was yes but not in the way you may think. I know that getting things wrong, is one of the reasons we hold onto to so much of our clutter but hear me out on this.

Pre minimalism around five years ago, I use to routinely declutter. Even back then I knew I had too much but things didn’t stay simplified of course because I would always bring in more. You see, I hadn’t found a way to pacify myself in those years and so the only way I knew, was to shop. And it was usually for house items but often for clothes that never got worn, which would inevitably annoy me and so I would declutter again some more.

Anyways, during one of these decluttering marathons, I decluttered some things that I regret, even now. I was tidying up my wardrobe, throwing clothes into a bag and although it was mostly full of things I didn’t wear - things I’d bought on sale, or because they looked good on someone else, I also threw away that day, some things that I did.

I had two jumpers that I loved, they were knitted and cosy, one was burgundy and one was black. I loved those jumpers more than anything else I owned. They were easy to pull on and kept me warm at the woods, the park and the sea. They were like a snuggly bear hug, comforting and soft, they were like a nice a sugary cup of tea. They were essentially the jumper version of me - no frills, plain and easy and made me feel, like who I was meant to be. Yet despite it all, they went into the donate bag that day, never to be seen again.

And so the two things that I regret decluttering, were the two things that were meant for me. I even remember thinking at the time, as my hand hovered over the bag, that I shouldn’t be donating these jumpers but I ignored my silent pleas. Back then I wanted to be something more, I didn’t want to be the girl who reached for slouchy tops. I was so hung up on being someone else that I didn’t listen - even to myself.

So I sent those jumpers on their way, not realising that I was basically decluttering me. Determinedly and recklessly throwing out the old, to make room for something new. Only I didn’t wear the things I kept, or even the new things I bought. The pretty dresses and too tight skirts because they really weren’t for me.

Five years on and I have never found jumpers like them and I miss them like old friends, which is silly I guess but true. And it is only now, that I understand why I did what I did, why I was so caught up in throwing away the things I loved. I did it because I wasn’t happy with who I was. I got rid of those jumpers because I thought that I should be making more effort. I didn’t want to admit that actually who I was, was someone who liked shapeless jumpers thank you very much! But I did and I do and I’ve since learnt who cares?! I’m pretty sure that no-one was talking about my baggy jumpers behind my back, so to be honest, I was only letting down myself.

I remember nothing else from the bags and bags of stuff I got rid of over the years, both pre and post minimalism. Thousands upon hundreds of items gone, with absolutely no regret. The layers of belongings that needed to go, to reveal who I really was. To show that all of those things taking up my space, really didn’t matter at all. And I guess out of the 80% of items decluttered, only two regrets isn’t bad.

I am not writing this to stop you declutter, to use the excuse that you’re not really sure. No, I am writing this because I want you to intentionally think about what you are decluttering and your honest reasons why. I want you to keep the things you love and use, be that the cosy jumpers, or boots old and worn. I want you to keep the things that you want to, rather than the things you think you should. I want you to know that you are enough in whatever you choose to keep and in whatever you decide to let go.

And so, as you hand over piles and piles of cluttered items, make sure that you aren’t throwing away a part of you, that you know is truly you. Because you, my dear, are enough, so hold onto what you absolutely love and I promise that you wont regret what you don’t.