10 Tips For Dealing With Guilt Clutter

We all have kept something at some point out of guilt. It might have been a gift, an expensive item, or an inherited object.

Letting guilt clutter go will help you feel better, and it will free up space for things that are important to you. Items that we keep out of guilt, make us feel bad every time we see them or think about them. They fill up valuable space in our home, as well as in our minds. 

If you can’t seem to let go of items in your home that are only there due to guilt, check out the following tips.


  • Start with items that are in your closets or storage spaces. Chances are they have not seen the light of day for some time and no one would even notice that you no longer owned them. Getting started and feeling the benefits of removing guilt clutter will give you the momentum and confidence you need to tackle more noticeable items.
  • Although it can be a little more difficult than simply donating, finding a home for items can lessen your guilt. You can give the items away for free or attempt to sell them for a reasonable price, using Facebook marketplace or another buy and sell app. Locating a charity or family in need is another way to hand something off.

When clearing out my grandparent’s house, I helped locate several families to help themselves to anything that they needed. One of the couples had recently lost their home to a fire. They were incredibly grateful for the opportunity and it made my family members happy to see my grandparent’s belongings help someone in need.

  • Forgive yourself for the money you spent and move on. Your space and happiness are more valuable.
  • Remind yourself that the item doesn’t have a place in your home but someone else will love it. “This sweater was a gift, but it isn’t my style. Someone else will love it and wear it.”
  • Visualize your space without the item. Think about how you could rearrange your living room if your grandma’s old piano (that no one plays) wasn’t there. 

Moving forward, be more mindful about what you allow in your home so you don’t create more guilt clutter.


  • If you receive an item as a gift that you don’t like, return it to the store as soon as possible before it settles into your home.
  • Before making any big purchases, do your research. Don’t rush into buying something just because it is the next new thing.
  • Before buying anything new, ask yourself if it fits your lifestyle and who you are right now.
  • Simply say “No thank you” when offered things from family or friends that you don’t need.
  • Remind yourself that objects don’t hold your memories.

Have you recently let go of an object that you had been keeping around due to guilt or are you currently holding onto some guilt clutter? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Published by Suzanne- Happily Decluttered

Hi!! My name is Suzanne and I live in central PA with my husband and three girls. I love yoga, pickleball, camping, spending time with my family, and decluttering!

10 thoughts on “10 Tips For Dealing With Guilt Clutter

  1. This is very timely as this week I’ve been working on decluttering my china cabinet (blog post coming up in a couple of weeks LOL). I was able to get rid of quite a few things that have been gifted to me that I have no use for. There’s still more but I’ll save that for the next round.

  2. Yes! Last Friday we received the most ugly serving platter/wall plate as a gift. My husband insists on keeping it but it’s hideous and doesn’t go with anything. He said we could use it to serve cookies, except that the platter is sitting in the same spot for the past week and our “guests” haven’t noticed or care that the cookies were in their original packaging.

      1. I bet he won’t even notice if i throw it out. I’m tempted…. he also refuses to throw out a pillow that was destroyed by our daughter (now preschooler) simply because his sister made it for our daughter. Even my mother in law said to toss it. It’s smelly and falling apart. Trying to convince my husband though, is nearly impossible.

      2. Oh no. My husband used to be similar. After several years of seeing the benefits of me being decluttered, he slowly started making decisions to clear some of his clutter. Maybe your husband will come around soon. Just continue to declutter the things that are yours.

  3. Your post was interesting to read because, most of the time, things that have a lot of sentimental value (or that we think they do) actually happen to be barely used or functional. We don’t even look at them that often, we just put them in the drawer forever!

    Being part of a home cleaning business has helped me be aware of the way people have such a hard time getting rid of their stuff because of nostalgia and not actual healthy emotional attachment.

    1. Yes! It is amazing how much stuff people say they can’t part with, but they don’t even use it or display it. I’m sure being in the home cleaning business you have seen a lot of interesting ways people hide their clutter.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!😁

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