How do you eliminate your guilt, stress and fear about getting rid of clutter? Get rid of the mental clutter first, then tackle the physical clutter.

From a very young age, many children are taught that they should not waste, that they should use and keep everything. This really instills a sense of guilt, so clutter amasses because we keep everything so as to avoid feeling guilty! It's like having audiotapes playing constantly in your head, saying "YOU MUST NOT BE WASTEFUL!" every time you try to release something from your life. Letting go doesn't seem like an acceptable option. But often it is.

Rather than playing the same tapes over and over again that say you shouldn't throw anything away, why not create a new recording? As you tell yourself that you shouldn’t waste anything, ask yourself which is more valuable:

* The things that you have accumulated and trip over daily, causing stress beyond your level of tolerance… OR:

* The space and peace of mind that you would reclaim if you eliminated these same items.

If you typically process thoughts from an emotional standpoint (feelings), you may find making the above choice is hard for you. However, using logic would make the second choice above a no-brainer. Emotion might bring guilt, fear, stress and several other feelings into play. Thinking logically and reacting emotionally are two very different approaches.

QUESTION: How do I eliminate my guilt, stress and fear?

ANSWER: Give yourself permission.

Letting go is tough, but not if you permit yourself to do so. Think of it as getting back to square one by letting go of the things that you have held onto for dear life out of duty or guilt for so long. Your reward is a healthier, happier, and less stressful life. Does that sound like a good enough incentive? Once you reach square one, then from that point forward, you must be discriminating about what you allow into your life.

"The stuff you own can end up owning you!"

QUESTION: How do you give yourself permission to go against what you have been taught your whole life?

ANSWER: Learn how you think differently.

"The person that can make you feel most guilty is YOU!"

Typically, when you make a decision, you base it on one of two things: emotion or logic. Naturally, if you are an emotional or sentimental person, you probably tend to keep items for reasons that seem logical to you. But if you deeply examine those reasons, you can break them down to see that your heart plays a bigger part than your head.

Looking at your stuff, it’s easier to feel what it means to you than it is to think about what it is doing to you.

The key words here are feel and think. Understand that you don’t have to remove all feeling from your life. You just need to examine where your thoughts stem from so that you can arm yourself with a more practical point of view.

Changing the soundtrack in your head is not an overnight process. You must make mental notes of how you currently think and give yourself the opportunity to develop alternative ways of framing the situation. This will help you clear the emotional and mental clutter!

Author's Bio: 

Patty Kreamer, Certified Professional Organizer(R) and owner of Kreamer Connect, Inc., provides speaking, coaching and consulting services to businesses and organizations who value effective practices that will leave their people being more efficient, empowered and proud of their accomplishments.

Do you want to be a much more organized person? Patty’s groundbreaking books, “…But I Might Need It Someday!” and The Power of Simplicity are available for purchase at Or if you prefer a “baby-steps” online/workbook-based course, check out the Clutter Rescue Course, which will transform a life of clutter, wasted time, frustration and overwhelm to one of power, simplicity and organization.

If you’re looking for a fun, dynamic, and effective speaker, or if your company would benefit from a productivity coach or consultant, Patty is available in person, by teleconference, webinar and phone. Email her directly at or call her at 412-344-3252.

Patty can also be contacted via Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Plaxo/Pulse, or her blog. For useful tips, sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter at

(C)2009 Kreamer Connect, Inc. Permission granted to reprint this article as long as the text and by-line are not changed. Complete text must be reprinted intact with all links made live.