Why You'll Want to Declutter Your Space
Whether you're conscious of it or not, the stuff that surrounds you affects the way you feel.
How many of you believe that, ‘the more stuff you have, the better you are or the easier your life will be?’ Be honest. After all, it’s easy for us to buy into this belief because we're bombarded with these ideas from marketing and advertising. On top of that, many of us have the ability to buy, buy, and buy some more. Whether we're buying it outright or through credit, it’s easier than ever to consume.
The truth is, that more doesn’t make you better or necessarily make your life any easier. In fact, studies have shown that when women are amongst clutter, their cortisol (stress hormone) levels go up. Meaning more stuff can lead to more stress.
It’s important to keep our space clutter-free because we can’t think as clearly and make decisions as easily when we're surrounded by clutter. We also tend to feel more tired, overwhelmed, stuck and even depressed, when living with clutter.
Think about some of the things that are currently occupying your space. Do you love and use everything that you have?
Do you really need to keep that thing that you never use just because someone you love gave it to you? By donating, passing on, or selling that item, you give someone else the opportunity to have something that they want and can use.
There are so many people in need of the things that we take for granted and have just ‘hanging around’ collecting dust. There are also many artisans who re-use and re-purpose the very same stuff you aren’t using that may be cluttering up your space.
To begin the process of decluttering, it’s important to start small so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Trying to declutter an entire room can feel daunting and cause you to not even bother with starting the process. For example, thinking about decluttering the entire garage could feel overwhelming. It’s much easier to manage it one box or section at a time. Begin by going through one box, letting go of what you no longer need and organizing that which you do need. Once complete, move on to the next box. Continue this process until the garage has been completely decluttered.
Thinking about decluttering your family room might feel like too much if you are thinking about the entire space. It’s much more manageable to start with that stack of old magazines, then move on to decluttering the side tables, then the china cabinet and so on, until you have a clutter-free room.
When you focus on just one box, or desk drawer, or kitchen cupboard at a time, it’s so much easier to begin the decluttering process.
Not sure if you need to declutter? Look around you and pay attention to how your body feels. Feeling any tightness, restrictions, or heaviness anywhere inside? Any feelings of overwhelm, annoyance, or frustration while you're looking around? If so, these are good indications that what you’re looking at is cluttering up your space and it’s time to do something about it.
Is letting go of things difficult for you? If so, you might want to consider hosting a Declutter Party. Invite a few close friends or family members over that you trust and you know will be honest with you to help you through this process. Sometimes it can be difficult for us to make decisions about letting things go on our own. If you know you’re one of those people, having others there to help you go through everything could help your process. They might be able to help you better see the things that you really don’t use. They may also have an idea of who could use something of yours that's collecting dust. Knowing that something will be useful to someone else often makes it feel easier to let it go. Make it a fun event complete with yummy snacks and perhaps a cocktail. Keeping in mind that you want to remain focused on the reason for the party.
While you’re in the process of decluttering, be honest about whether or not you really need something and if it’s worth keeping. It’s helpful to go through each item asking yourself the following questions:
1) When was the last time I used this? Most experts suggest anything that hasn’t been used in a year, get rid of. I go with a 6 month rule for myself (with the exception of seasonal items). Or, if I've completely forgotten that I even had something and then suddenly find it, it’s gone. For me that's a sign that I really don’t need that item. After all, I had completely forgotten that I even had it in the first place.
2) Am I holding on to this just for the memory? While it’s nice to have mementos and keepsakes, it's also possible to hold a memory deep in your heart and mind without holding on to the actual physical thing. If you don’t use that item that your grandmother made, you can still have the memory of her making it while donating it to someone else who may desperately need it or enjoy using it. And isn’t that a nicer way to honor what she's made? Allowing it the opportunity to be used as it was intended to be?
3) Would I rather have this thing or the space it occupies? Your space is precious. Only have in your space what you really Love, not the things that you think are just OK. Also, keep in mind that your space is a representation of you and should accurately represent who you are in your life right now.
4) Am I respecting my space? Whether it’s your home, your office, or your vehicle, the space you occupy at any given time of the day deserves to be honored and respected. When you honor your space by keeping it free of clutter, even a small space like your vehicle, you're treating it with respect.
After you’ve just invested your time and energy in clearing out and cleaning up, you want your space to remain this way. The easiest way to do this is to adopt the rule, One In-One Out. When you obtain something new, let go of something old. This rule is easy to follow and will ensure that your space remains clutter-free.
It also works well with children and their toys. When they get new toys at a celebration, have them go through their old toys and choose a few that they feel they no longer need. This way they're learning the One In-One Out rule and your house doesn’t become cluttered with excess toys. It’s also a fantastic way to teach children about donating to others in need (if you choose to donate your unused items).
Decluttering your space feels freeing and it really does contribute to you living happier and healthier.
I wish you Happy Decluttering!
P. S. Don't forget it's also important to Declutter Your Mind
What's your favorite decluttering tip? Share it in the comments.
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