One of the big things that trips us up when decluttering is getting bogged down in the “what will they think?” sorts of questions. Given that people are highly social, the approval of those around us tends to affect us more than it probably should.
The cure for this, of course, is to look for signals that the situation may not, as a matter of fact, be as dire as we’d thought.
Sometimes this is coming up with an alternative method of social approval. For example….
We’re going through our closets, and we realize that we only have half a dozen outfits that we really like. “What will they think if I just wear these same half-dozen outfits over and over again?”
Well, there was a TV news guy in Australia who wore the same suit for a year. Different ties, and I’m presuming different underwear, but otherwise the same suit. There have been multiple women who wore the same dress (or one of the same type of dress – some owned a duplicate or two for laundry purposes!) for a year, just swapping out accessories.
The fact that other people have done it, who have had more at stake than us, typically means that we’ll be okay. So your half-dozen outfits will probably be fine – unless you’re a fashion model.
Gertrude’s Gifts – Gone!
Sometimes this involves asking yourself some very realistic “what’s the most likely outcome?” sorts of questions. For example….
You’re going through your boxes of stuff that you haven’t seen since the Clinton administration, and you find some trinkets that Aunt Gertrude gifted upon you in 1992. “What will Aunt Gertrude think if I throw these away?”
Well, you haven’t seen these things since the Clinton administration. Let’s be charitable and say that was 1999, and you threw them into the box just before your Prince-themed dance party on New Year’s of 2000. That means it’s been sixteen years since you’ve seen these things.
You know what that means, right? It’s been at least sixteen years since Aunt Gertrude has seen them too.
How often does Aunt Gertrude bring them up? If you can’t remember, Gertrude probably can’t either.
Verdict? Aunt Gertrude has probably forgotten. And she can’t possibly be angry about something she can’t even remember. I’d get rid of the trinkets.
The Reality? Most People Don’t Care
The salient point here is that the vast majority of other people are so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t even have time to pay attention to what you are and aren’t wearing, doing, displaying, or whatever.
And the ones that have made it their life’s work to monitor the things you have and the choices you make will never be happy no matter what you do.
The most sane path forward, therefore, is to figure out what makes the most sense to you.
Have you made any unconventional choices in your pursuit of a decluttered, more simple life? I’d love to hear about it over on the Facebook group!