Using My Fear of Exploding Heads for Good

Sometimes decluttering makes me feel like my head is going to explode.

I can be going along, using all of my well-developed (from excessive amounts of experience) decluttering methods and plowing through the mess when BAM.

My entire body seizes up and my head begins to pound.  I’ve run across something that doesn’t easily give me a first reaction of yes or no.  My brain is immediately flooded with memories of all the times I’ve picked up that item, seen its flaws, and decided to keep it anyway.

Generally, these items have good qualities.  And bad ones.  The good qualities make me want to keep the item, but the bad ones keep me from actually using it. 

I could agonize.

I could ask myself a series of questions.

I could call my mother for advice.

But when a girl like me is working on a project like the one I’m currently working on, she doesn’t have time for all that jazz.

So yesterday, I decided that if I pick up an item and my brain immediately starts to bubble and fizz and threaten to explode, it’s gone. 

No questions, no analyzing, no angst.  Let my physical reaction decide for me.

For example, this shirt.  This shirt that I bought only a few months ago and wore one time.  One time.  And I felt cute that one time.

But that one time was right before I figured out what was causing holes to appear on the front of many of my tops.  It was the belt I was wearing with jeans.  I’ve stopped wearing that belt, and I threw away many of its victims.

But this top was difficult to pitch simply because it still felt new.  I know it isn’t logical to keep something that can’t be used, but logic is sometimes hard to come by in my world. 

So as a trained actor, taught to “act on instinct” I decided to pull out an old stage concept and immediately act upon this feeling that wells up in my heart/chest/brain when these difficult decisions present themselves.  Act upon it by getting rid of whatever item causes these feelings.

So “I just don’t KNOW” becomes “Bye bye!”

No holey shirt is worth a head explosion.

Make sense?



  1. 1

    Please tell me you got rid of the belt too? 😉

  2. 3

    Makes sense.
    Again, I can sooooo relate. And logic? I don’t even go there, because I can logically rationalize myself into a corner, gasping for breath with my heart pounding and my head about to explode.
    Thanks for giving me permission – love it when you motivate me to do the hard thing!

  3. 4

    I suffer from this as well, it’s so hard to let go of something you really like. I sometimes wear shirts with bleach and food stains and pretend they are not there, bad right?

  4. 7

    I love the logic behind your decluttering! Now that my six children are back in school, I too am going to “come clean”! I watched your first webisode with my 7 year old daughter and we were both laughing so hard (while learning). And we loved your “hilarious” fork…hilarious!!!!

    I enjoyed visiting with you at the Mamas Write Conference this year!

  5. 8

    Ok. I have been reading ur blog for about a year because I just searched ur blog for the dish drying mat post. I was curious, do you still use it? My awesome hubby just installed a dishwasher about 2 weeks ago- yes there was not one in our house, unless you count the children and I, then that makes 3. So, do you still use it? I want to remove the strainer permanently from our counter and was looking at possibly purchasing a mat. Thought about this?

  6. 9

    I have this same problem with small holes in the fronts of t-shirts. My problem is not caused by the belt, but rather my height. I am just the right height that the top of my waist band rubs against the bottom (rough) edge of the kitchen counter top. I have had to learn to just stand back an inch or two, and not lean or rub against the counter so much when I work.

  7. 10

    This is one of the best decluttering tips I have read. Thank you so much.
    This gives me so much clarity. For example, I was just mulling over whether to keep a toy my kids don’t like or use in case we have a guest over who might like to use it. I put it in an “I don’t know” spot. Thanks to you, it’s leaving. 🙂 Woo-hoo! Freedom!

  8. 11

    Wahooo!!! I made it all the way from the bwggining to the day I first discovered your blog. I am officially current on your blog posts. Now to back away from the computer and tackle a project.

  9. 12

    Thank you for your time at Mama Chiks. I learned so much, had a great time and am now in love with your blog. God Bless! J

  10. 14

    My favorite way of getting rid of useless clothes is to ask myself how I would feel if I was wearing the item and ran into someone that I really want to impress. This has caused me to purge a lot of really useless items.

  11. 15

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing your insights! One of my decluttering rules has been, “Does it bring me joy?”, which helped with old things that I clearly no longer wanted. But the head explosion rule really helps with those things that I have a love/hate relationship with. Yay–Thanks so much!

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