How To Declutter Without Feeling Guilty

Today I am sharing how to declutter without feeling guilty.  The benefits of decluttering are undeniable and we should never feel guilty about donating items we don’t need. 

Guilt free decluttering

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How To Declutter Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding it is time to declutter and downsize your belongings can lead to a terrible feeling of guilt!  We have all spent money on something that we think will work great in our lives only to find out that we never needed the items. 

I am here to tell you how to declutter without feeling guilty because it is possible.

Sometimes we have used something up until it no longer functions. 

Even those items can make us feel bad when it comes to getting rid of them.

After doing a lot of research on decluttering and doing a lot of decluttering myself, I am here to share some simple thoughts that can help when it comes to getting rid of the decluttering guilt.



How to declutter without feeling guilty?  Are you are keeping something because you spent money on it? 

If this item is something you don’t use and it doesn’t bring you joy, then why would you feel like you should keep it.

If anything this item is only a reminder that you wasted your money. 

Now, this item is taking up valuable space in your home and it is reminding you of the mistake every time you see it. 

By decluttering the item you have learned your lesson and don’t have to think about the wasted money.

Another way to think about it is, that by keeping this item you are NOT going to bring your money back.  You can try to sell the item to recoup the cost, but keeping it does nothing. 

If the item can’t be sold the best thing to do is declutter the item and think of it as a lesson learned.


Learning From Decluttering 

The next time you go shopping is super picky about what you buy and take your time thinking about what you really need. 

I like to make a detailed list of anything that I think I need.  Then I wait a few days or weeks before I go shopping.

Most of the time those things I needed aren’t even in my mind anymore.

I recommend two books that really help with decluttering The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson. 

Both of these books go into great detail on decluttering and help with a guilt-free declutter.


Watch Declutter Without Guilt Here:


Donating Without Feeling Guilty

Donations are significant and we should never feel guilty about donating items that we are decluttering. 

Many people have told me they want to find the perfect place or person to give their things to.

This is a great idea in theory, but it is going to be really hard to declutter if you are trying to find the perfect person for every item.

The nice thing about dropping your items at a donation location is people will come in and find your items. 

So in the end your decluttered items are going to people who need them.

Most donation places raise money for charities, so your items are not only going to people who are looking for them, but they are raising money as well.


Don’t Feel Bad Decluttering Just In Case Items 

Are you afraid to declutter something because you might need it in the future? 

I use to keep so many items “just in case.”  In all of my decluttering, I have never regretted anything that I have decluttered.  


Decluttering My “Just In Case” Laptop

My laptop from 2008 was saved for about 5 extra years because I thought that there might be a day when I need to use it.  The “just in case” scenario at its best

After saving my laptop for 5 years, I finally went to use it and realized it was completely dead!

Not only was the battery dead, but the whole computer was done for. 

This was a first-hand illustration of why I shouldn’t hold onto things that I haven’t used in over 5 years.  The icing on the cake is I had moved twice with this laptop and stored it when we had very little storage space. 

All of that effort because I felt I might need it. 


No guilt declutter tips


SENTIMENTAL ITEMS – Declutter with no Guilt


Sentimental items can be really hard to get rid of.  How can you declutter sentimental items without feeling guilty? 

The worst thing is feeling like you have to keep something because you don’t want to feel guilty.

I was given some items from a family member and I felt I had to keep them. 

The sad thing is I knew nothing about the items so there was no connection. 

I feel there are a few things I could have done in this situation.

You can take a picture of the items or whittle down the collection. 

After a lot of thought, I decided to keep one item to display and donate the others.

One way to not feel guilty about donating sentimental items is to put yourself into the future.  I like to imagine what my kids will be thinking about all of this stuff when I am ready to hand it down. 

Are they going to keep everything?

Another way you can avoid guilt is by imagining if you walked into a stranger’s house, what would you keep? 

I know I would have no problem decluttering someone else’s stuff.  Sometimes it can help remove the guilt if you can imagine the items as just that, “stuff”.



Start slow with sentimental items.  Decluttering doesn’t need to be a race. 

I have realized I declutter sentimental items over time, not in one day.

Most of us have a lot of sentimental items that have accumulated over our whole lifetime. 

So going slow will allow you to do two things; enjoy your memories and give yourself time to let go.

Declutter kids room


WHEN IT’S REALLY HARD Decluttering a Sentimental item

Sometimes it is really hard to get rid of a sentimental item, almost impossible.  This is when I would declutter what I can and save the rest for another time.

Box up all of your sentimental items that you don’t intend to use daily and store them, for now. 

With the intention of going through these items again later.  I wrote a full post on decluttering sentimental items if you need more tips.


NO REGRETS – Declutter Without Feeling Guilty

Throughout my entire decluttering journey I have never regretted anything I got rid of.  Knowing this can really help avoid guilt. 

I would feel really guilty if I donated a bunch of stuff and then realized I would have to buy it again.

If you do a slow declutter that can help to avoid rash decisions. 

I have found the more I declutter the stronger my decluttering muscle gets.  Decluttering used to take a really long time, but with practice, it can be quick and easy. 

In other words the more you declutter the better you will get at it.

Knowing that I have never needed something I have decluttered helps me to avoid feeling guilty. 

The benefits of having a clutter-free organized home outweigh the thought of maybe needing something you donated.



Think of the positive side of decluttering, and everything you will gain by living a clutter-free life. 

When I decluttered I found my home ran so much smoother.  I no longer found myself spending hours organizing and tidying.

Before decluttering I found myself shifting toys all over our house. 

I was always trying to organize in an attempt to make life easier.  No matter how many shelves or bins I had I could never get everything put away.

After decluttering I found my home looked nice again. 

It was so easy to stay uncluttered!  Here is a great article about the 6 benefits of an uncluttered space.

My home is now much easier to clean and tidy. 

We almost never misplace things, everything has a home!  Never feel guilty about wanting to streamline your life and get rid of the excess stuff.



If you are spending a ton of time continually organizing the same area, check out The Declutter Your Home Minicourse

I created this course for anyone who is sick of all the time wasted tidying their home.  This course is easy to follow and helps you figure out a decluttering schedule so you can declutter your entire home.

This is the perfect course for you if:

  • You worry about your home before having people over (aka shoving things in closets).
  • Things are always “missing” in your home.
  • You wonder why your home doesn’t ever look clean or tidy, no matter how much cleaning you do.

If you need direction on how and where to start on your decluttering journey check out The Declutter Your Home Minicourse!


Read More Decluttering Tips and Tricks:

How To Avoid Impulse Buying

10 Simple Ways to Save Money

How to be a minimalist with Family

No, Spend Month

Waking up at 5am is Changing my LIFE


Declutter with no guilt, decluttering, minimalism

2 thoughts on “How To Declutter Without Feeling Guilty”

  1. Hi Shannon, This is my first visit. I watched the companion to this post on YT and was inspired to share your comments about decluttering having brought about great changes in your life such as your upcoming move with my husband. Even though we are at the end of the spectrum, we truly are exactly in the same spot. I am hoping that decluttering will let him realize it is time to let go of the past, down-size our home, and see what new adventures life has to offer. You inspire me with your sharing. I’m excited about your looking for part -time work. You will be surprised by how much your children enjoy this, I promise. All good things wished for your family! Elizabeth

    1. SHANNON

      Thank you Elizaabeth! I was surprised how decluttering really changed my husbands mind about life. I don’t know if it was just me changing my life and our stuff that made him catch on or what, but he is definitely more open to change. I can’t wait to start a part time job I think it will be good for everyone. I hope you have a great day.

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