Decluttering Diva Challenge Day 3: Guilt Clutter


*This post is the third in a series of the 5-day decluttering challenge from Mridu Parikh at*

I’m continuing to work through the decluttering challenge, and I like how my three target areas (kitchen, master bedroom closet, and van) are looking less messy.  I also like how I’m changing the way that I view the items in my house.  I’m learning that it’s okay to be less emotionally tied to things that are cluttering my life and only focus on the important things.

The challenges on Day 3 and Day 4 are hardcore, rubber-meets-the-road decluttering efforts because they address clutter that sits around due to our emotional ties to those items.  Mridu breaks these types of emotionally charged clutter items into 4 categories:

  • Guilt Clutter
  • Cost Based Clutter
  • Dream Smashing Clutter
  • Abundance Clutter

Today we’ll deal with Guilt Clutter, and we’ll address the remaining categories next time.

Guilt Clutter

Mridu’s definition of guilt clutter is anything that you keep around because you would feel bad or guilty if you got rid of it, because it reminds you of an event, experience, or person.  For example, a long-dead relative gifted you with a set of lamps that you don’t want or need, but you feel guilty disposing of them because of the memories that are tied to them.

Today’s Challenge

Set a timer for 30 minutes and eliminate clutter in your three areas that falls into the guilt category by either tossing or donating it.

After two tough challenges, this was one category in which I was mostly able to take a pass on, because I own very few heirloom-type items.


However, I quickly realized that when it comes to little notes and drawings from my girls, my inner pack rat emerges!  I mean, what kind of mom would throw out a note from her “dahter” that says, “Thank you for the “babby” doll.”  (I especially love the ones that say how much they love me – I intend to take those out and re-read them during their grouchy teen years!)

I know that I can’t keep them all, though, so I’ve designated a bin where I’ll store memory items gathered throughout the decluttering challenge.  When it’s over, I’ll keep a few of the super special items in a scrapbook, and photograph others to keep in an electronic photo collage.  This article has several additional ideas for storing kids’ artwork.

I know that this is a tough challenge – are you struggling?  If so, Mridu has some great thoughts to help you:

  1. You’re only getting rid of the item, not the memory itself – the memories will stay with you even after the item is gone.
  2. Keeping an item boxed up, unused, and/or out of sight isn’t really more respectful than tossing or donating the item  – in both cases, the item is not being used or enjoyed by you
  3. The person who gifted you with these items would not want them to be a burden to you

She finishes with the encouragement that clearing out clutter frees up space for new and meaningful memories and experiences!

Do you have items that you’re having trouble parting with because of emotional ties?  If you’re following along with the challenge, let me know how its coming along in the comments or on my Facebook page!

See other posts in the Decluttering Diva Challenge:

Decluttering Diva Challenge, Day 1

Decluttering Diva Challenge, Day 2

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