Decluttering With Mind Games


Mind Games – we all play them.  We use them to help motivate ourselves to take action on something.

But do they really work? And what works better, positive or negative mind games?

Negative or Positive – You Decide

Think about it for a minute.

What do you do when a special event is coming up and you want to lose five pounds? You start imagining how good that dressy outfit will look on you without those extra five pounds. That is a positive way of motivating yourself.

Of course many times we take the negative way. Although it may work to motivate us, we beat ourselves up in the process.  To lose those five pounds you imagine how tight the outfit will be and how fat you’ll look if you don’t lose those pounds in time.  So you get in super focused mode and follow a strict diet and/or exercise constantly.

Now think about what usually happens after the event? If you’re like most people you go right back to the old habits that put those five extra pounds on to begin with. The negative self talk didn’t change your thinking for the long term.

The same is true for our clutter in our homes. You’ve probably heard the hack about pretending your house is in danger of a forest fire or a hurricane heading your way. Because you only have a short time to pack up and move to safety, you have to make quick decisions on what is worth saving and what can be replace. I’ve used this mind game before and it does work somewhat. But this way of thinking can put you in a negative mood about loss. That’s not a fun mind game.

Fortunately most of us will never experience the above situation in real life. However, we should all be aware of the possibility and be prepared.

Pretending To Move Mind Game

Another common mind game is the “pretending to move out of town” one. This one can be both a positive and negative mind game, depending on how you look at it.

I’ve tried this one in the past but now it’s becoming more real to me.  My husband is looking to retire in about two years and we’re planning to move across country to be near one of our sons. It will be a big move, costly move, and we’ll be downsizing our space. With this in mind I’m playing the mind game of what is worth moving and what isn’t. I’m looking at this as a fresh start, which is a positive motivator.

If you look at it from the mindset of having to let go of things (similar to the forest fire mind game) then it may be a negative motivator and it may not motivate you at all!

New Mind Games For Decluttering

I’ve thought of a new mind game that just might have you looking at your things from a different standpoint. What if you won a lottery or inherited a large sum of money from a rich aunt or uncle you barely knew? With all this money, you can afford to buy a whole new house and live anywhere you want. You can also replace everything in your current home with newer things.

Now you can look at all the stuff in your house to see what you would replace if you had all that money.

Would You Replace:
  • Electronics (TV’s, stereos, DVD players, computers, phones, and all the accessories that go with them)
  • Furniture
  • Decorating items
  • Clothing, shoes, and other accessories.
  • Jewelry
  • Toys (adult & children)
  • Exercise equipment
  • Kitchen items (pots & pans, dishes, utensils, microwaves, toaster ovens, blenders, etc.)
  • Hobby items (sewing, crafts, woodworking, etc.)
  • Garden/yard items

Once you’ve decided what you would replace, it’s time to look seriously at what you would keep. These are the items that have sentimental meaning. You may be able to replace them with new ones but the sentimental value is worth more to you.

This kind of mind game is a positive and fun one. It can help us realize how many items we really don’t have an emotional attachment to. We may keep them because they are practical and we enjoy having them. They may make our lives easier but if we could get new ones then that would be fine also.

The big take away from this mind game is we learn to look at all of our items and put them into the proper category. (See below) Looking at our things from an objective point of view can help us cut the emotional and often irrational ties we’ve placed on an item.

  • Items we would replace if we had the money to do so. No emotional attachment.
  • Items we really like but don’t necessarily have a sentimental value. Could let it go if we really wanted to or had to.
  • Items that are one of a kind, can’t be replaced, and you really like them.
  • Items that have sentimental value to us. The memories that are brought up when we look at or use that item are priceless.

What do you think about this new mind game? Do you think it might help you figure out what items are practical for your life and which ones have a true sentimental value? What mind games do you play to help you declutter your home?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

To a lighter load along the way.


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