Confirmation Bias

“Murphey’s Law says as soon as I declutter this thing, I’m going to need it”
“I knew it would happen that I needed this once I got rid of it, that’s why I keep everything”

Confirmation bias is processing information by looking for, or interpreting information consistent with your beliefs. So even though you got rid of 100 items in your big declutter and you haven’t needed 99 of them, the one that you could have used a week later is the one you focus on and confirms what you’ve always believed, which is if you get rid of something you’ll need it.

It’s also biased by the fact that even owning that item is fresh in your mind. Had you not handled it and made a decision about it, you might have completely forgotten that you owned it and been able to solve your current need in an alternative way.

Instead of leaning into confirmation bias in your decluttering, use these questions to help you realise that just because you ‘could’ have used it doesn’t mean you ‘should’ have kept it.
– What is a possible alternative solution?
– Is there an alternative item I could use?
– Could I borrow it from someone?
– What is the cost of not having this item anymore? Is it catastrophic or just annoying?

Solutions might look like using an alternative item that you already own, it might be that you genuinely need to purchase the item again (rare but possible) or maybe the thing you’re trying to do doesn’t actually need to be done and you can let the task/ job go completely.

When you’re tempted to keep things just in case, or you’ve decluttered something you could use, think about the full picture of your decluttering rather than through the lens of confirmation bias.

You’re invited to join my Free 5 Day Wardrobe Declutter Challenge!

You may also like to listen to these episodes:

Fresh Eyes
Object Permanence
ADHD Series: Adult Diagnosis and Managing a Household

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