lazy gal’s survival guide : guilt vs. conviction

Hello fellow not-so-lazy gals! Today, we’re continuing with this series. We talked about the process behind purging our homes + how to get motivated last week. Today I wanted to discuss the reasons behind why we do what we do. There are two elements that can become a bit confusing when dealing with our homes and our lifestyles. I truly believe one includes a completely different outcome than the other.


Guilt vs. Conviction. The two are often confused.

Basic RGB

If I’m feeling guilty about something, it usually comes from an outside source.

Guilt is usually the initial feeling… a reaction to something. For example: I would start cleaning out my home because I was playing the comparison game with what I saw as perfection, in someone elses’ home. I felt guilty that my home wasn’t ‘up to par’. Guilt is my first reaction. It may initially inspire us to start cleaning out our homes, based on something we feel. And it’s usually for the all wrong reasons.

Ironically enough, once you get going with the process, I’ve also noticed that guilt usually keeps us from throwing things out. Memories attached. Money spent. Emotions assigned to a truly unimportant item means I keep it. I don’t really want to keep it. But I do. I cling to the possibility. The memory. The notion. And because it’s a decision based on my temporary feelings, I am always left unhappy.

Basic RGBIf I’m feeling conviction for something, I feel strongly about it. This is because something else has influenced me, but it is not a reaction. It is a decision.

It’s something that changes my previously made up mind. Something that can transform you, if you hold fast to it. Something you decide on your own, based on what you observe. Something that truly opens your eyes. It changes your entire perspective and outlook. Because of conviction, it infiltrates your life and changes how you feel about everything.

I believe that in the past, when it came to our home, I felt guilty about everything. I saw things piling up, and felt bad about it… I observed what seemed to be perfection with other people and in general, would begin for all the wrong reasons. So I would clean. But I would stop purging, because I felt bad about that, as well. I was torn by guilt. Guilt was a reaction, and it caused my ultimate indecision. My stalemate.

I would fail and burn out.



What is different this time?

I’ve come to a place in my life where I’m truly ready for something different. Beyond the purge, is the simplification of our lives. One word that keeps galloping through my mind… through my intent in transforming our home is the word convicted. 

Like any time our eyes have been opened when we’ve been illuminated and changed in a way we never saw coming… It becomes part of our lives.

This is a lifestyle change, and not a guilt ridden purge fest. Like any real change that must take place in your lives, it can’t be ruled by guilt.

It must be a decision made with a clear, rational mind. And in turn, that conviction calls for us to act on it.

Have you looked back and noticed changes in your life based on guilt or conviction?

Have you fallen on your face like me before when you were feeling guilty? Spill it! ;}


Here’s a few more inspired readings on this subject…

studio-0581My friend Paige’s great perspective on her experiences with changing her own home. Be sure to check it out here. A realistic approach that will leave you feeling inspired.

cleaningcopyAnd via Centsational Girl, Marcus Design’s helpful tips for identifying your clutter. 

Have an inspired day!

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Responses to lazy gal’s survival guide : guilt vs. conviction

  1. michelle says:

    Thank you for this! I definitely have guilt.

  2. Ali Thompson says:

    Every time you post in this series I just keep it open on my computer all day long as a reminder. I purge a lot because we move every two years and this summer we move again, but with this purge I really want to simplify too. Thanks so much for the series and your honesty!

  3. kat says:

    How do you move past the guilt of the stuffed animals from Nana and the dresses and the knick knacks and such?
    Seriously holding me back. They don’t play with these things, but they were given to them….
    Holding me BACK!
    Also, the husband saying, just put it in the basement. I don’t want 30 years of “put it in the basement.”
    Just curious :)

    • Ally says:

      A suggestion… If you are trying to hold on to the memory, take a picture of the item and keep a photo album. You might find that the actual item isn’t that important. I know it’s tough though!

      My take on it is, I could save it for my children, with the intent of giving it to them when they are older… But do I really want to put that on my kids? Do I want them to have bags of childhood items and stuffed animals in their attics? I really don’t… So I figure I’m saving them by getting rid if it now. :)

      I love these posts! I did the purge thing a while ago, but its awesome to read all of this and reaffirm my actions. Plus, to keep me on top of it, because even though life gets way simpler, you are still regularly editing.

      • SO true, Ally. I think this is great advice. I’m working up the courage to get rid of some of these things that are so guilt ridden. I’m starting with the little things and working my way up to the pointless things. ;}

        • Ally says:

          This is a little late, but I wanted to add… Don’t guilt yourself too much if you can’t get rid of it all RIGHT NOW. It might take several passes before you can really bear to get rid of all the excess… But each pass gets significantly easier. My hubs was holding on to things more than I was, and there were a few things we kept because he felt felt guilty for getting rid of them. But a few weeks ago, he went up into the attic and brought those items to Goodwill. Once you live without some of the excess, you realize how little you need what is left! Good luck and don’t beat yourself up over too much. I can tell from your writing how freeing this is to you, and you are obviously inspiring a lot of people!!

  4. Leslie says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months and it has quickly become a favorite! I’ve not commented before, but just wanted to let you know you’ve inspired me! I’m an empty nester these days, so purging and simplicity have become much easier! (I miss some of the chaos and clutter! Savor, friend, savor!) Anyway, I was inspired by several of your beautiful projects and recently repurposed some hideous “paint party” creations into something I actually enjoy looking at! Check it out if you want!
    Keep up the great — inspirational! — work!

  5. Never thought of it that way, but it’s so true. Guilt can push and stop us at the same time. Thanks for your insight. I will be thinking about it as I plug away at my office – aka – the dumping ground.

  6. You continue to inspire me! Thanks for laying it all out there once again! Keep it up!

  7. paige says:

    great post my friend! guilt verses conviction….have dealt with that in many ways, not just in my home! always good to evaluate our motiviations…well i wont ramble. i’m off to tell brink he made “the” blog!

  8. Rachel says:

    Love this series. And it’s so true – those feelings of guilt vs. conviction. Ha – I’m so glad you brought it up, because I think so many of us have felt that when trying to declutter our houses and we didn’t truly realize what it was. Perfect for helping me get on the right track.

  9. Julie says:

    I came across this quote today, and it seemed applicable: There are two ways to have abundance: One is to have a lot of things; the other is to not need very much. ~ Plato

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I would get rid of a lot more,but there’s my mother. She thinks you have to keep everything ever given to you. sigh

  11. Colleen says:

    I think the other side of this issue for some is fear. You can have guilt with fear or conviction with fear. What if I throw that (whatever, insert item here) and I need it in a week or a month? (and, the fear of not being able to replace it because it was expensive, sentimental, etc). That fear can keep us holding on to stuff we know darn well we should get rid of. Ask yourself, what’s the worse that could happen? I’ve rarely (if ever) gotten rid of something only to say “shoot, I should have kept that”…with the exception of my first car which was a classic 68 Kharman Ghia convertible (sniff)….anyway, just like a diet or exercise change, living simply is a lifestyle change, not a temporary state. I think we can all agree we are on this journey together, each and every one of us in our own way. Keep up the great work, you will get there!

  12. Belinda Aguirre says:

    Hi. I’m really appreciating what you’ve been writing lately about cleaning up/out. I’ve been following your advice. I’ve been asking myself…if I had to move, would I take this with me? This question has allowed me to get rid of a lot–granted we still have a lot, but you know. Tomorrow a company is coming to pick up the things I’ve been getting rid of the last few weeks. it’s such a good feeling to get it OUT of the house. I’ve been telling my cleaning clients (I clean houses) about what I’ve been doing and so far 3 of them are hiring me to help them–so thrilling. So thank you for your inspiration. Keep up the great work.

  13. Julie says:

    I’m doing better with purging and simplifying things that someone gave us or could hold sentimental value. My issue is unloading those items that if you keep them they take up valuable space, but if you toss them, you will have to purchase the items again. It is especially true of my art supplies and craft items. I have plans for many of these items, but I really don’t want to store them in the name of simplicity and I can’t justify repurchasing them either. Help!!

  14. Kimberly says:

    This is just what I needed! I hang on to so much stuff because of the perceived memories and guilt. If I get rid of it what will my family think. Or, in my family, all the cast-offs are sent to me because they know I’ll probably hold on due to sentimental reasons. The problem is no one wants the stuff….they just feel guilty about it too. I will continue purging and moving out what we don’t need or love. You’ve inspired me today!

  15. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the post! My roommate and I are switching apartments and we were amazed how much “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the years. We made 4 trips to Goodwill and a trip to the consignment store and we still filled a 20 foot Uhaul. We both agreed after this that we want to live more simply–the challenge is figuring out how to do that!

  16. karen says:

    Loved reading this, thank you. A few years ago we lost my mother, my mother in law, and grandmother all within a few months. We spent months cleaning up their homes, their lives. Going through their belongings and really paying attention to what they held onto, that was eye opening for me. I began then to really look at my own stuff. Secondly, volunteering at a local non profit thrift shop just really solidified my conviction to simplify. I am not where I want to be but close. I really want to live as if my possessions don’t possess me, so thanks for the encouragement.

  17. Kathlyn says:

    LOVE it! What a great post! I always feel guilty, so I don’t throw away. Then I feel overwhelmed because I didn’t. The vicious cycle!

  18. Tricia says:

    Just started reading this series and you hit on so many points that ring true and are what I need right now as a stay-at-home mom with young children. I cannot teach my children respect and care for things if I do not have them myself. I am actually pretty good at purging but cannot quit bringing things into my home that I “think” I need and then coming up with organizing systems that work. I also realize it’s me though that’s not making them work, not the system itself. But, instead of feeling guilty, I will move forward a little day by day even if that means two steps backward. Thank you for starting this series.

  19. tara says:

    such a huge difference between guilt and conviction.
    you did such a wonderful job explaining both!

    i think it’s safe to say we’ve all fallen flat on our faces when living out of guilt.
    guilt has never transformed my heart but conviction does every.single.time.

    guilt produces more of that try hard life….
    conviction comes to bring freedom.

    I {heart} this post.