There is a temptation among home organization specialists to encourage clients to make quick decisions during the decluttering process. We have utilized the strategy ourselves from time to time. But is this strategy the best way to go for every situation? Probably not. There are some very valid reasons for slowing down and taking your time.
In this post, we will discuss some of the potential pitfalls of making quick decisions. That’s not to say that quick decisions are never a good thing. Sometimes they are. Each homeowner has to work with his or her professional home organizer to figure out what’s best for that situation.
Joy vs. Utility and Function
The fuel for the quick decision strategy is often the philosophy that people trying to declutter should only keep those things that bring them joy. We are not quite sure where this mindset came from, but it is neither appropriate nor practical. There are a lot of items in our homes that are there only for their utility and function. They do not bring us joy.
A mop and bucket offer a perfect illustration of this concept. It’s reasonable to say there aren’t very many homeowners who actually take joy in mopping the kitchen floor. If decluttering were about keeping only those things that bring joy, the mop and bucket would be in the dumpster quicker than you could say ‘throw them away’. But you cannot throw them away without losing the utility and function they offer.
Sometimes it pays to slow down and think of utility and function first. Anything that does not have a legitimate function in your home can then be measured against the principle of joy.
Quick Decisions Can Lead to Repetition
We have seen a number of cases in which a person decluttering for the very first time ends up engaging in repetitive behavior as a direct result of being forced to make quick decisions the first time around. Why does this happen? We aren’t psychologists, but it seems reasonable to say that sometimes making quick decisions can generate feelings of regret. Any such feelings may lead a person to begin acquiring a new round of possessions to make up for those that were lost.
Slowing down and being more thoughtful is helpful for avoiding regrets after decluttering. Fewer regrets may reduce the risk of engaging in repetitive behavior. Speaking anecdotally, we have observed this ourselves.
Creating Unrealistic Expectations
Another reason home organizers push quick decisions is rooted in business: time is money. They want to complete a job as quickly as possible so that they can get on to the next one. This may be good for the home organizer, but it creates unrealistic expectations in the minds of clients.
It’s not always true that you can completely declutter in a weekend. In fact, a lot of people need a couple of weeks to do things the right way. Do not engage in quick decision-making in the hopes that you can complete what is a painful process before you go back to work on Monday. Not only will you be miserable if you don’t actually get it done, but you’ll be forced into making unwise decisions based solely on the clock.
There are times when making quick decisions is the right way to go. There are other times when it’s not. You have to decide for yourself what’s best for your circumstances. If you need help in your pursuit to declutter, My Divine Concierge is at your service.