6 Ways to Eliminate “Guilt” Around The House
You do your best to make your home a restful, enjoyable, and peaceful place to be. You organize, clean, weed, mow, repair, and repaint. Yet, you still wrestle with self-reproach about not doing enough or not doing things quickly enough.
Maybe the answer isn’t to do more or to work harder, but to remove guilt-inducing agents from your home (and your life) so you can do less and feel better about it!
Here are a few tips to help identify some of the potential troublemakers and evict them!
1. Clothes That Don’t Fit
Clothes that are too small have a shaming little voice, encouraging you to feel inadequate. They mutter, “you should exercise more,” or, “you should have skipped that extra serving of spaghetti last night.”
Rather than dealing with these traitorous garments, let them go. Remove any clothes that don’t fit or aren’t flattering. You’ll be left with a closet of items that feel comfortable and help you look your best without triggering negative feelings while getting dressed. Who needs to start their day on a sour note? Not you!
2. Looming Projects, Crafts, and Hobbies
Do you have hobbies and projects that you aspire to complete (or start)—things you’ve intended to tackle for months or years?
Perhaps you wanted to learn to play guitar, but the instrument you acquired is lurking in the corner, still waiting for you to “find” the time. Whenever you glance in its direction, It berates you for never following through.
Maybe it’s a partially-pieced baby quilt you started when you were expecting your first child. But, unfortunately, seeing it tempts you to feel like a failure at sewing and parenting, all in one fell swoop.
Or, it could be the easel you purchased at a yard sale when you imagined you’d like to take up painting.
Evaluate these types of items on their own merits:
- If it’s something that no longer captures your interest, let it go. It’s okay to change your mind and adjust your priorities.
- If you imagine you might find more time in a few years, consider parting with it anyway. You can always find replacements if you decide to revisit a hobby later.
- If you discover you’re genuinely interested in a neglected project, keep it and find ways to work it into your schedule.
3. Low-Priority Repairs
Sure, some repairs are necessary. But others are just taking up physical space in your home and mental space in your head. Prime candidates include the lamp that needs a new cord but could have been replaced with a new lamp ages ago. Or that garage sale treasure you were going to refinish.
Review the items on your “repair” list and ask yourself:
- Do I still like this thing?
- Will I want to keep it once it’s repaired?
- Is it easier to replace it than to fix it?
- Is it so out of date that better options are available now?
- Would it be better to hire someone to repair it than to frustrate myself?
Clearing out all those repair projects will lighten your to-do list and simultaneously remove some clutter from your garage, workshop, basement, and attic.
4. Sentimental Items With Bad Vibes
We all have little mementos tucked away from different phases of our lives. Most sentimental items are tools for happy reminiscing. Some, however, remind us of difficult or sad times.
You may be holding onto these things because you think you should. But there is no unwritten rule that you must keep your high school yearbook if you hated high school or a wedding present you don’t like. Likewise, you don’t need to keep “get well” cards from when you were hospitalized if they make you relive the illness.
Rather than revisiting those unpleasant times, resolve only to keep sentimental items that make you smile. Toss the rest. Your future self will thank you!
5. Aspirational Things You “Should” Do
Do you have plans to enhance your life, but those tools are still sitting, unused? It may be time to toss them, especially if those items require more time and trouble than you have to dedicate. For instance:
- The fancy Bento boxes you purchased to pack your child’s lunch, but you never have the time, supplies, or desire to create an adorable mini-spread.
- The collection of divided freezer meal containers that you bought with the noble intention of spending Sundays meal prepping for the upcoming week.
- The exotic, healthy food items in your pantry that you intended to start cooking for your family. (The effort required to learn new skills and identify new recipes—much less coercing your family to try them—is just too much!)
- Books you “should” read, including recommendations from friends or classics that weren’t part of your school’s curriculum. (If you want to read them later, check them out at the library, or read them digitally. But get them off your shelves and out of sight!)
Many items fall into this category. Eliminate all that you can and replenish your supply should you decide to tackle them in the future.
6. General Clutter
Each of the categories covered so far may be causing clutter in your home. But clutter, in general, sends unpleasant messages, silently demanding, “put me away,” “wash me,” “fold me,” or “organize me!”
It’s no wonder researchers have found that people who live in cluttered environments are more likely to experience depression.
In essence, clutter is about deferring decisions. Things gather on surfaces because they don’t have a dedicated place in your home. It’s easier (at the moment) to set something down “for now” and decide where it goes later.
Left to its own devices, clutter can ruin your ability to relax on the couch and enjoy your home, your family, and your day.
Please take a moment to listen for and acknowledge the negative, guilt-ridden messages lurking in your home, and get serious about evicting them. You will be happy that you did!