5 Rules to help you declutter your life
I don’t know about you, but spending so much time stuck inside during the pandemic made me come to value every inch of available space in my small SF Bay Area apartment. To this end, my apartment has undergone several drastic transformations to clear space (and then again to clear more space) to work from home and still feel like I have a home that is not just an office.
One way to make more space for our home lives is to get rid of things we no longer use. Seems simple in theory, but in practice, there are a number of psychological mechanisms that make it difficult for us to make good decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
In this article, I will explain some of those concepts from psychology and behavioral economics and describe some rules you can use to overcome them.
When you want to clean up and get rid of things you no longer use, there are two big related psychological principles working against you: Loss Aversion and the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
Loss aversion is a psychological principle that refers to the tendency of people to prefer avoiding losses over acquiring equivalent gains. In the context of decluttering, loss aversion can make it difficult to get rid of items because people may feel like they’re losing something when they part with them. Even if the item is no longer needed, people may be reluctant to get rid of it because they feel like they’re losing the value of the item.
Sunk Cost Fallacy
The Sunk Cost Fallacy is another psychological principle that refers to the tendency of people to continue investing in something because of the resources (time, money, etc.) that they’ve already invested, even if it no longer makes sense to do so. In the context of decluttering, the sunk cost fallacy can make it difficult to get rid of items because people may feel like they’ve already invested too much in them to just throw them away.
For example, imagine that you bought an expensive dress for a wedding that has now been canceled due to the pandemic. Even though you no longer have any use for the dress, you may be…