Having too much stuff can create chaos in your life. Stuff stresses us out. It frustrates us. It drains our energy. It can make it hard for us to get organized.
Most of us collect things, like antiques, books, coins, cards and so on. Collecting things is fun and we can display them so they can easily be seen and enjoyed by ourselves and others. However, when we start collecting many different things and putting them in piles so we can’t even find things or have no idea where we put something, this is when clutter happens and chaos starts.
When we have so much stuff that it drags us back to the past or ahead to the future, we can’t really live in the present and enjoy our lives. People keep things that remind them of important things that happened in the past (newspaper clippings, photos, something that was owned by a loved one, a child’s toy). People also keep things that they may need in the future, afraid to part with anything that might be of some value. It is certainly okay to keep memories and anything that may be useful to us but when it gets out of control, it results in an unhealthy living environment.
Clutter is unhealthy. Dust, mold and animal dander collect and can cause breathing problems. Bugs and mice are also attracted to cluttered areas where they can live and breed. Clutter is also a fire hazard and could hamper rescue efforts, sometimes resulting in death for the inhabitant and also the firemen.
If you have too much stuff, ask yourself what kind of life you want to live. Do you want your stuff to control you or do you want to control your stuff? Create a new vision for your life that is calm and easygoing, one that has less stress. Talk to yourself in words that are encouraging and hopeful. Tell yourself that you are far more valuable than your stuff and you deserve to live in healthy, stress-free conditions. Make a promise to yourself that you will start making some positive changes in your life, starting with cleaning up the clutter.
Ask yourself why you are keeping certain items. One of the big items people keep is old newspapers because they might read them someday. Chances of reading them are slim to none and why would you want to read old news anyway? Besides, half of the newspaper is ads and they have absolutely no value once the sales are over. Keeping them is just creating a mess and a possible fire hazard. Another big item is keeping plastic bags for garbage. We can only use so many garbage bags and they also just create a mess and possible fire hazard.
Pick one area and spend an hour or two a day working at it. You can’t do it all at once, so don’t even try. It will take time and patience but if you are committed to having a better life, you WILL be able to do it. If you need help and you can afford it, contact a company that does organizing/de-cluttering. Let’s face it, if you could afford to buy all that stuff, you would be better off using your money getting rid of the clutter instead of bringing more into your home.
Put things where they belong. If you have dishes or groceries in the bedroom, move them to the kitchen. Books should be in a bookcase, not piled on the floor. Clothing should be in a closet or dresser. Clutter tends to become a pile of anything and everything as space gets limited in the rooms where things belong. Then when you can’t find things, you go out an buy more to replace stuff that is lying in a pile somewhere.
Make a promise to yourself that when you get something new, you will get rid of something old. Of course, this doesn’t apply to things like food unless you are keeping expired cans or food that is rotting. If you enjoy reading, you don’t need to keep hundreds of books; go to the library and save some money. If you like new clothing or fancy jewelry, donate your old items to goodwill. You don’t need a new outfit to wear every day for the next 20 years.
Make an appointment with yourself to de-clutter. It can’t be done all at one time so do it in small time frames that are manageable. Do one or two hours a day and soon you will start to see some progress. If you want more ideas, check out some sites that help with clutter removal. There are lots!
Remove the clutter in your life and you will start to feel better. As someone who helps people de-clutter, I can tell you that when the job is done, we almost always see a smile on their faces and there is an obvious sense of relief. Happy de-cluttering!