To help you get past this mental block, some declutter experts recommend a thought exercise in which you imagine what you would save if your house was on fire. Your children, sure, your elderly parents, yes, your spouse, of course. But assuming you don't have any of those, because they can't bear to live in your stinkhole, what do you choose to save then? The imaginary smoke helps you pierce the smoke in your own mind to help you see what's truly important to you.
That's the theory, anyway. I had a hard time wrapping my head around it when my hoarding expert explained it to me. So when he wasn't looking I just wastedly set a fire.
Panicking isn't strictly speaking a tip, but if you get deep down into decluttering you'll likely experience a similar emotion. "Oh no, can I really live without this." "Oh, I really wish I hadn't thrown that out." "Oh God, the flames are getting higher."
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"Oh no, my vintage moonshine stills!"
Once you start to panic, you're no longer thinking clearly, so try to avoid making any further decisions. No more picking what to donate, or tidying up what you're saving, or deciding whether you should set other fires to fight the first fire you set. Just calm down, take some deep breaths, and go outside. If you feel dizzy, that might be smoke inhalation, so maybe go outside before those deep breaths.
There. Feel better? Now back to those decisions.
It will eventually come to pass that the professional you hired will be angry with you for trapping them in a fire and then pass out from said fire. This occurs during 75 percent of all high-level decluttering scenarios. And here at last we see something that is undeniably worth saving: a human life. So have another couple swigs of brown liquor and get right to that.
This will also "save" you from a second-degree murder charge.
And with that one, most important thing saved, you will find that you are past your mental block. The rest of the decluttering will seem to take care of itself, and soon it will be obvious which must be thrown away.
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All of it.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has dozens of mental blocks still to get past. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
Cleaning up and going green is great, but take care not to install energy-efficient windows, or they could laser blast your neighbor's home. Wait, on second thought, that sounds awesome. Find out how in The 6 Most Insane Ways Going Green Can Backfire, and then learn how, though you might be good at spiffing up your home, you'll never be as good at cleaning as nature is. See the fungus that eats radiation in 6 Ways Nature Cleans Up Our Messes Better Than We Do.
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