It’s January, so naturally, the whole world is talking about decluttering their homes. The stores have gone from being stocked with Christmas decorations to being filled to the brim with plastic totes, drawers, and bins.
Everyone is decluttering.
What does this mean exactly?
Decluttering if the act of going through one’s home to remove items which are unused and unneeded. It may be sorting out your tightly packed bedroom closet, cleaning out your garage or donating things that you think you will probably never use again.
So why do folks do this?
There are many different reasons.
Many people say their motivation is to bring more peace into their home.
While others say they feel that they are owned by their belongings – and that they have so many, they cannot manage them all.
Some feel that they are anxious and depressed in their own living spaces.
An ever growing population of declutterers are moms of young children who have been overwhelmed by piles and piles of plastic toys and tiny bits and pieces that cannot be easily maintained.
Whatever the motivation, people are looking for change, and they are starting with their living environments.
It is a proven fact that living in a cluttered home actually causes mental health issues. There are endless articles online that will tell you why being surrounded by clutter increases anxiety and depression, and causes the person involved to lose focus and become unable to make choices.
I have felt all those feelings.
“Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.”
In my own home, we have too many toys, too many unfinished projects, piles of things older family members have either gifted to us and/or passed down to us, and then the other stuff that we actually really like.
It’s a big mess a lot of the time.
I had an a-ha moment recently when I said to myself, “Why can’t I keep the house clean?” Now, I am not an inspired cleaner, but I clean everyday. And I often find myself stuck putting things away… more than actually cleaning.
I realized that we have too much stuff.
There is just too much to manage.
So we have begun to declutter.
Today we put 12 boxes in the garage to be donated.
It feels great. And it’s just the beginning.
I am learning that:
- Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.
- Being surrounded by things actually decreases my ability to think clearly and causes anxiety and sadness.
- Being surrounded by things doesn’t make me feel satisfied or filled up.
- The quantity of things I have in my home actually decrease my general sense of happiness and control over my space.
- Things don’t have feelings. They don’t care if they stay or go. It’s us that have to deal with our feelings of attachment and perceived loss.
Is decluttering one of your goals for 2018? How is it going?
Photo credit: Eric Didier and Markus Spiske