Armed with good intentions at the start of the year, I’ve embarked on a decluttering journey. My children’s outgrown clothes and various paraphernalia were the first things I tackled, but I have a lot more to do.
And I must admit I’m finding the process quite enjoyable and satisfying.
But why exactly? What is it about having less ‘stuff’ that makes you feel better about yourself?
1. Having less gives you more physical space and, in turn, time
Think about it.
Space and time are limited resources. Every time you buy or get given something new you have to find a space for it. If your house is full to the brim, in order to find a space for your shiny new thing you have to move something else.
That takes time and effort.
So your children got a new flashy remote-controlled car. Where is that going to go? They’ll want to play with it, so it has to go in the toy box in the living room. Oh wait, that’s too full. So let’s move that other toy that no one is looking at anymore, upstairs. You know, to that corner where no one looks. Oh wait, there are other five things in that corner. Where are those going to go?
You get the gist right? Imagine if all that clutter wasn’t there. You wouldn’t just have more space, but you’d also have more time – you’d no longer be playing the ‘let’s find this thing a place and move things around’ game.
And you’d be doing something better instead.
2. Having less gives you less to think about and, in turn, more head space
We’re not all wired the same. Some people aren’t too bothered by clutter. But others are. If you’re anything like me, a drawer full of admin papers means something that one day I will have to face. It’s something to do, sort, file, shred, organise. I can keep it closed and out of sight for as long as I like, but it’s not out of mind. It’s not just a daunting item on a to-do list (‘sort out admin’), but it’s something that clutters my mind. If that wasn’t there, I’d never have to even think about it.
Less to think about equals less mental stress.
Less mental stress equals a healthier mind.
3. Holding on to certain things makes you live in the past, not fully in the present
Have you ever kept a present that was given to you by an ex-partner or someone who’s no longer in your life? Because you just can’t make yourself part with it? We’ve all been there, but what are we really achieving by keeping things that we no longer use? Nothing and no one can take our memories away from us and who we are. Do we really need an object to remind us of those days constantly? Wouldn’t we rather move on and own things that reflect our life now, today? (And yes, your grandmother’s engagement ring definitely is an exception!)
The same goes with clothes. Have you ever found yourself keeping that top you once loved so much but hasn’t fitted you in 5 years?
“When I’ve had this baby and lose some weight, I’ll wear it again!”
For some people and for certain things that’s definitely the case. But for many others, it just isn’t. Face it: you’ll probably never wear it again. Why live in the past?
4. Owning things can make you sit on a false sense of security
Security that if you ever need something it’s there. Security that you are sitting on valuable items, and should you need that money, you can always sell on.
Think about old CDs or any items you may have collected in your life, for example. You keep them and keep them, because you think that one day they’ll have some value again. Will they really though? Compared to how much money you spent on them at the time and how long they just sat there collecting dust, are you really going to get that much out of them? Are they really worth your precious space (and time?)
The same goes for things that you haven’t used in ages. That juicer we thought we were going to use daily but found too high maintenance and never used again? That beautiful, embroidered bed throw we were given for our wedding and never took out of the box? Yes, these things may have been valuable once and cost us (or someone) a lot of money, but if we don’t have a use for them and haven’t had one for years, they probably won’t have any in the future either.
No use means no value.
5. Having less makes you more grateful for the things you do have
Having more space in your wardrobe or in your children’s toy boxes means that you and your children can actually enjoy the things that you like, wear, use, and play with right now in your life. Doesn’t that make you feel a lot better than having lots of things that are never looked at? Doesn’t it make you more grateful for the things that you do use and value?
So will you be taking any steps to declutter your home?
You can also find this post on the HuffPostUK Lifestyle blog.