De-cluttering Your Life: Getting Past the Guilt of Throwing Stuff Away

Raise your hand if your wallet has been personally victimized by your shopping addiction? (Insert girl with hand raised emoji). I mean, come on. Nothing beats the feeling of finding something you’ve been looking for and you’re so excited to bring it home!

Well, when I decided to adopt a simpler and more minimalist lifestyle, that shopping addiction had to go. I had to come to terms with the fact that I spent a lot of money on things that ended up in the garbage.


The mindset of feeling like I need to buy something new on a regular basis is exactly what led me to living in an apartment full of crap that quickly became useless to me. My living space was also tidy and picked up, but I was realizing that items on my shelves and in my closets hadn’t been touched in weeks, months, or even years. What was the point of having stuff if I wasn’t using it? Just because I wasn’t living with a fridge full of moldy food or a dead ferret under the couch, doesn’t mean I can easily call my house a cozy home.

This isn’t my first go at simple living. However, this time around, I feel more motivated empowered to make a change. I spent a few days researching and reading articles and watching minimalist Youtubers to gather all knowledge, tips, and tricks on minimalism. Other people seemed to have a knack for throwing away useless stuff and identifying what belongings were most important. There was one thing I couldn’t wrap my brain around. How was it so easy for them to throw away their stuff? Didn’t they miss the presence of their things?

The more I gathered information, the more I realized that other people struggled at one point during their minimalist journey as well. At one point in time, they gave up, they stopped purging and continued to buy and spend. It’s easy for me to throw out or give away what I know I don’t need, but I’ve spent hard earned money on a lot of what I have!

Below is a list of things that hurt to throw out:

  • Yarn
  • Books (I donated)
  • Craft supplies
  • Makeup
  • Purses
  • Shoes

I absolutely did NOT have fun throwing these items out, but I already planted a seed before I started. I knew my goal and I was going to achieve it. I didn’t want to be held down by my possessions anymore, so I lived by this mantra, “I spent the money and it sucks, but I no longer need this item, and I won’t make the mistake of owning it again.” Just because I spent X amount of money on something, doesn’t make it valuable in your life. I know that’s hard to understand when we live in a world that is centered around praising how much stuff we own.

Learn from the mistake and move forward. For example, I had to throw out a lot of makeup, but in the process, I learned that I don’t like pink palettes, I don’t like mascara with rubber brushes, and I only like one brand of foundation. Seeing how much makeup went in the trash was eye opening and made me learn a lesson I won’t soon forget.

Do you need this item? No. Do you already have it? Yes. Then don’t buy it. Simple as that. 

I would encourage anyone who is trying to downsize to take the following steps as I did:

  1. Write down why you want to downsize. What is your goal/vision? My goal was to own only what I needed or what felt important to me.
  2. Write down what you will gain from a simpler life. I wanted to gain a sense of clarity and peace in my home.
  3. Take a moment to meditate on what I stated before; you may have spent a lot of money, but you are capable of looking past the price of them item and understanding there is price of owning too many things, and you will pay with you peace and freedom.
  4. Just jump in! No matter what room of the house or what day of the week or time of day, just start. The hardest part is getting going, so pick an area, grab some trash bags, and go for it.

My final note is this: if there is a ton of stuff that just doesn’t belong, it’s gotta go. If it’s making you feel tied down, overwhelmed, or cluttered, toss it. Make space for your belongings that mean something to you. For example, I kept a lot of books that inspired me. I kept a lot of clothes because I needed to have options for work and school. I kept craft stuff that I knew I would use soon (the good yarn, Cricut vinyl, colored pencils, etc.)

There are just some things I will carry to my grave and that’s okay! When you know what is important to you, you can clearly see the things (or people) that no longer serve you or bring you peace, and you won’t even notice it’s gone.

~ Shelby B.
Insta: Shelbycolada
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