Learn how to style the perfect coffee table.
5 complete looks with shopping links!

Spring Edit: 5 Reasons We Find it Hard

Happy Spring! Spring has the same effect on me as January 1st—I want to edit and organize. I love a clean and organized space, and I know the reason behind this is that clutter drives me crazy–literally makes me crabby.

I think it is because I use the visual part of my brain all day. When it comes to my home environment, I crave a visual rest, so in my home, I have very clean lines and minimal accessories. I even tend to dress mostly in black because I am surrounded by color so much that I like the neutrality of it.

Still, I battle the stuff that creeps up and turns into clutter. We discussed the essential editing step before you start the design process here. I wanted to dive deeper into clutter and organization because we are physically affected by clutter, which can negatively impact our lives.

Clutter: things we don’t need, want, or use, or don’t deal with that pileup. Old clothes, toys, paper, broken items, things that aren’t put away, etc.

Clutter has a negative impact on our lives:

  • Increases stress & anxiety
  • Overwhelms our brain
  • Decreases productivity
  • Makes it hard to focus when several things compete for attention
  • Wastes time—looking for things
  • Wastes money—buying things we already have
  • Makes it harder to keep your house clean—collects dust

Studies show that people who love their homes keep them clutter-free, clean, and organized.

Clutter can actually prevent you from loving your home, and therefore, you can get caught in a vicious cycle of negativity toward your house.

We don’t want to organize the clutter; we want to declutter and edit to make things easy to manage and maintain. Once you are set with decluttering, then you can think about organization.

People love to go out and purchase new containers, baskets, and bins in hopes that they will help control the clutter. I get it; who doesn’t love a trip to the Container Store?—it’s one big vision of a perfectly controlled space. That trip should only come after you have learned your organizational needs. And to determine this, yes, you guessed it, you need to declutter.

5 Reasons why it is hard to declutter & edit

1. Financial—we bought it and feel bad about getting rid of it

It’s easy to understand because no one likes to waste money, but keeping the item will not bring the money back. More likely, it will bring up negative feelings every time you look at it. We have all bought that “thing” that we were going to use every day to make our life amazing, and then it turns out we didn’t use it, and it didn’t make our life amazing. It’s ok to let these things go—donate it and give that hope to another person (and maybe it really will make their life amazing). If it’s not something you use or brings you true joy, let it go.

2. We may need it someday

You know what I’m talking about—you bought or were gifted that great gadget—it makes juicing an orange so much easier. The thing is, you don’t drink orange juice. Well, you may use it to juice a lemon one day. Maybe you’ll start drinking lemon water—you hear it has excellent benefits. Am I right when I say you’ve had these conversations in your head as you stand there looking at the gadget—we all have! But it’s ok to let that gadget go. Chances are, if you haven’t needed it or used it, you won’t going forward.

Consider this—there is a cost of holding onto items. Say an item costs $100, and you hold onto it for 10 years without using it (again, thinking one day you will need it); that is $10 a year—is it worth the mental energy and negative feelings to hold onto it? If the day comes when you start squeezing oranges every day, then you can purchase it again because it is useful to you.

Once I started thinking this way, it made parting with things so much easier, and I haven’t had to go out and repurchase anything I have parted with.

3. Free or sale items can add up

How many times have you taken something because it was free? Or bought something on impulse because it was a really good sale? That promotional bag from the store, that piece of furniture your sister was getting rid of, or can you believe this was $1500, and now it is $20—what a deal. We get caught up in the moment or don’t want to say no, or we may think we really do need another shopping bag, but then we get home and realize exactly how many shopping bags we actually have.

These free or “deal” items end up costing us in other ways—they clutter our space and our minds. They keep us from our dream homes, and they need to go.

4. Feeling wasteful 

Sometimes it can come down to just plain guilt. Feeling wasteful for getting rid of things that are useful, but you don’t need them, or something that is in great shape but isn’t to your taste anymore. Let the guilt go—donate the items and feel good about passing them to someone who may need it.

5. Sentimental

This is the doozy. How many things are you holding onto because they remind you of a person or a special memory? Or it’s something that you are keeping that a family member gave to you.

I experienced this in my 20’s. I had a coffee table that had been passed down through the family. It was not my style, but it worked in my first apartment because I needed furniture! I was paralyzed over this table when I was ready to move and get new furniture. It was a piece my parents had when they were first married. My father died when I was 5, and the guilt I felt over getting rid of this table was immense. And what was worse was that because I’m the youngest, there was no one else to pass it along to. My mom gave me the piece of wisdom that has stuck—she said, remember letting an item go is not going to take away the memory or the love from the person who gave it to us ( or who it reminds us of). It’s just a thing, not a memory. I took it to heart and donated the table. And nothing changed, except that I still remember that table and how it reminds me of my dad. I don’t physically need it to remind me; it’s still here in my memory.

Remember that things can keep you from your dream home. Clutter overwhelms us and makes us crabby. Start small until you have the home equivalent of a lean, mean machine. Then you’re really ready to start the design process!





Molly Hirsch interior designer Ridgefield, Connecticut

Hi, I’m Molly Hirsch, and I help women founders, executives, and entrepreneurs translate their highly effective work approach to their home design, creating a space that rises up to meet their needs while enhancing the warmth and style of their family home. Discover all the ways we can work together to create a home of your dreams.

You’re one step away from a well-designed life.