Feeling Sad After Decluttering? It’s a Real Thing… and Here’s How to Deal With It

Despite the fact that most people feel a refreshing lightness after decluttering, it is possible to feel regret or something akin to ‘the blues’ afterward. If you’re feeling sad after decluttering, rest assured that your feelings are valid. Let’s talk about some ways to deal with them.

For help with the actual decluttering process, check out my collection of declutter tips to help you do the best job possible with the least stress.

Text how to deal with feeling sad after decluttering on white background over image of woman with long dark hair wearing casual clothes and sitting on windowsill in white, clutter-free room.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not to be taken as professional medical or mental health advice. All statements are strictly my personal life observations. You can see my full disclaimer here.

Why Are You Feeling Sad After Decluttering?

Decluttering your home can make you feel more in control of your environment, but it can also leave you feeling sad. 

Sometimes, it’s simply the result of change — which is always a bit of a rollercoaster.

Often, people are feeling the exhaustion that comes after an adrenaline rush. You just spent a long time making a lot of decisions about a lot of things. Your mind was working, your body was working, and every session felt like a little rush of accomplishment. But now you’re done and… what? You’re left feeling a little limp and tired.

It might be because you’re not sure what to do with all that free space, which can leave you feeling slightly anxious and maybe even a little overwhelmed. 

You may be feeling sad after decluttering because it seems like you’ve gotten rid of things that still have value. For example, some people feel bad after getting rid of clothes or shoes. They think they should keep them in case their size changes again. 

Why We Become So Attached in the First Place

We often become attached to things because they remind us of something from our past. For example, a particular pair of jeans reminds you so much of an enjoyable time in your life that it’s hard for you to let them go. 

Over the years we collect many sentimental items like pieces of jewelry, knick-knacks, or even old baby clothes. The meaning behind these sentimental items is usually something very personal to us – it might be a gift from a loved one who has passed away, or even an item that reminds us of our childhood.

The process of decluttering is an emotional one because many of your memories and life moments are associated with the items you’re getting rid of. Those emotions need to be dealt with, preferably during the process of decluttering — but afterward if necessary. 

Can Decluttering Cause Depression?

The decluttering process shouldn’t cause depression. On the contrary, most experts agree that decluttering should help people to feel LESS stressed and anxious. 

But our minds are sometimes a mystery. There’s the slight possibility that getting rid of clutter may trigger a depressive episode if you’re already dealing with depression and have deep-seated feelings about your belongings. 

This is one reason I recommend slow decluttering. You don’t have to fear letting go of everything at once and crashing with an overwhelming feeling of loss. 

Just let a little go at a time and see how you do. If sadness or regret kicks in, stop for a while. 

For lingering sadness or anxiety, seek professional help in the US by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visiting their website.

How To Feel Better After Decluttering

Woman with long dark hair wearing casual clothes and sitting on windowsill in white, clutter-free room.

Here are some tips for working through the feelings and ways to remember the things that matter most in your life.

In order to feel better after decluttering, it may be helpful to remind yourself of your goals. Why did you decide to get rid of this item? What does having less stuff allow you to do or have more time for that you value?

As long as it doesn’t cause any harm or hurt, feel free to yell, scream and cry if the mood arises. You might be feeling upset because decluttering reminds you of a loved one who has passed away and you’re deeply missing them – just know that this is totally normal.

There are a few things you can do in order to start feeling better after decluttering:

  • Write your feelings down on paper – even if it seems silly or embarrassing, just write them all out so they’re not bottled up inside you.
  • Write a list of everything you’re grateful for and remember that your material possessions don’t define who you are.
  • Think about what the future will be like without clutter. It may be hard to fully imagine, but can give you some peace in the present moment by knowing there is a positive goal.
  • Focus on how this decluttering process has helped you to move forward and will improve your quality of life.

Coping Strategies For Feeling Sad After Decluttering

If you are feeling sad after a decluttering session, you can try coping mechanisms to help improve the challenges you are facing:

  • Take a break from your decluttering and take care of yourself. Put on some music, read something or just do nothing for a while. Do what is best for you to start feeling better.
  • Recognize that it does not last forever! Make time every day to enjoy the space in your home.
  • Consider slowing down the process. You don’t have to get rid of everything today — just take on as much or as little at a time and give yourself more time to feel better!
  • Take some deep breaths, call someone for a chat.
  • Do some gentle exercise — this will help your mind feel better. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine or go for a walk, do yoga or take an evening stroll with your dog!
  • Take care of yourself and your physical health. Drink lots of water and at a well-balanced diet.

Decluttering is emotionally exhausting and can be really difficult. You don’t have to feel guilty about feeling sad after decluttering — it’s a normal human response!

It might take time for you to get over the sadness, but if you give yourself space and do some self-care actions then you should eventually start feeling better. 

You deserve to feel happy in your new life with your nice house!

If, after trying these suggestions, you are still finding things difficult, you may need to seek professional help.

More Decluttering Help

27 Truly Easy Things To Declutter This Week

Storage Ideas For Clutter: 8 Dynamite Ways to Organize the ‘Must-Keep’ Stuff

4 Action Tips for How To Declutter When Overwhelmed

Stop Being a Victim of Clutter

Concluding Thoughts

It’s important to understand that the emotional response you have after decluttering is normal. You’re not alone in feeling an initial sadness when your belongings are organized and less cluttered. But with some time and effort on your part, you can start to enjoy the benefits of a well-organized space.

From taking care of yourself during this trying process by eating healthy meals or finding other hobbies outside of cleaning up clutter, to making sure you spend quality time with loved ones who may be there for support, do whatever works best for you! 

I hope these tips help make things feel better soon.

You’ve got this!

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