How to Convince Someone to Throw Away Things They Don’t Need

  • An older woman speaks on the phone in a clean and clutter-free home.
Clutterers Anonymous defines clutter as “anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity.”

It can be the old computer that’s broken, but you’ve been meaning to see if your grandson can fix. It can be the wool sweater that’s too itchy to wear, but you hold onto it because it was expensive. It can also be a stack of magazines you simply never got to reading.

But what all clutter has in common is that it makes your house a mess—and stresses you out. With that said, you’d think it would be easy to convince your spouse, mom, or best friend to get rid of it—but it’s not. Here are a few strategies that could help you convince them to de-clutter.

The Joy of Getting Rid of Clutter in Your House

If you ask someone to get rid of something, they might immediately think of what they’ll be losing.

It’s your job to convince them of what they’ll be gaining—peaceful surroundings that lower stress and increase the ability to focus. Indeed, the benefits of a clutter-free environment are supported by research.

How to Throw Away Things You Don’t Need

If you’re trying to convince someone to throw something away, it’s important not to go into the conversation with the attitude that you’re right and they’re wrong. Instead, make it your goal to start a conversation about the usefulness of the object in question.

Ask questions like when was the last time they used a particular object. Do they think someone else could benefit from the item more?

It’s also a good idea to start with less sentimental items and work your way from there.

Recognize When Your Loved One Needs Help

A cluttered house is something you can help your loved one improve. However, someone who is truly a hoarder likely needs professional help. Here are a few symptoms of hoarding:

• Stuff stored where is shouldn’t be, like in the shower stall or blocking doorways.
• Someone who can’t clean up enough to be comfortable having guests over.
• Someone who has a lot of the same things, like six staplers or can openers.
• When it’s painful and almost impossible to get rid of something, no matter how little value it has.

Sometimes, There Simply Isn’t Enough Room

You may have boxes in hallways and closets overflowing with stuff—and not have a legitimate clutter problem. Remember our original definition? Clutter is something that you don’t want or need.

If you’ve got winter coats stuffed under beds, you don’t have a clutter problem. You have a storage problem. And that’s something that can be easily fixed—either by getting a bigger home (expensive!) or increasing your storage space (quite reasonable). At StorageMart, all of our units can be rented on a month-to-month basis. Need more info? Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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