Declutter Your Home And Get Rid Of Your Stress
Let’s face it. Our homes are full of all the things that society tells us to buy. There’s the toothpaste that makes our teeth whiter, shampoo that makes our mane longer, softer, and fuller, laundry detergents that remove stains and make our laundry fresher, gadgets that make our phones faster, the latest toy that our children just have to have because of the latest movie out in the theatres, make-up products, and the list just goes on and on. When it really comes down to it though if we live by the movement declutter your home and get rid of your stress, you’re definitely not only going to happier but also live longer.
The average American home has 300,000 items according to some sources.
Those piles of all your clutter not only are a fire hazard and are in your way but they also weigh heavily on your mind.
I know when I’m confronted with them it only reminds me that there’s a million chores I’ve got to do, goals I’ve set for myself to meet in order to reach a better more productive and happier life, and decisions that accompany all those goals.
Let’s explore further why your stuff might be magnifying your stress levels and get some great decluttering tips, ones I’ve learned from the experts and come across myself on the battlefield (that place called home.)
A change of seasons is a wonderful time to start reclaiming your space. What better time to identify your clutter and declutter with effectiveness.
1. All of the following tips I found were from the Huffington Post and one of the first things it said was that it was important to get to the bottom of your clutter personality.
This comes from the NEAT Method founders Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy.
There are three types of clutter personalities which you need to get to the root of to determine why things pile up in the first place:
Too Busy = Too Many Extras: You buy items you already own because you don’t have a system in place for where to store them or when you need to find things fast, the time to search through all the possible storage spots.
Constant Worrier = Must Save Everything: You’re concerned that you “might” need something in the future, so you save everything, “just in case.”
Overwhelmed in Life = Overwhelmed at Home: You don’t know where to begin—so you just live with the chaos.
So, the first step to a clutter cure is to write down your favorite pack-rat phrases. My clients’ top three are: “I have to go through those,” “Someone could use that,” and “But I need it!” Unless you use the object in question at least once a year, such righteous exclamations are actually symptoms of dysfunction. Obeying these protests will keep you overstuffed and off balance forever.
Instead, use your powers of analysis to outwit the primitive logic of these phrases. When I ask clients what they long for, the most common responses are “peace,” “space” and “freedom.” Clutter keeps us from achieving these goals, and we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying larger homes. Empty space is more valuable—psychologically and physically—than almost any object.
2. With this in mind, walk into any room of your home and focus on 10 random objects.
As you consider each, ask yourself
(1) Do I truly need it?;
(2) Do I truly adore it?; and,
(3) Would I trade inner peace for this?
The answers can help curb your pack-rat impulses, allowing you to clear out and move on.
— Martha Beck, life coach and author of Finding Your Own North Star
3. Do the 10-Minute Declutter Exercise (aka the “Trash Bag Tango”)
If your assessment of clutter has you feeling overwhelmed unable to figure out where to start, try the “Trash Bag Tango”.
1. You get two trash bags, with the idea here being to clear the superficial clutter from your home.
2. In the first one you put trash; in the second bag, you put stuff that’s going to a charity or a yard sale, books that you’ve read or clothing that no longer fits you,—and anything else that you just want out of the house.
If you do this simple 10-minute routine every day for a week you’ll notice a difference. Do it every day for two weeks everyone will notice a difference. And do it every day for a month and you’ll really be on top of the clutter.
— Peter Walsh, organizing guru and author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight
4. Manage Your Paper Trail
This one is just plain and simple. If you don’t have the time to finish the mail, just don’t start in on it. You can’t prepare dinner and go through the mail at the same time so when you walk through the door with the mail in the evening, put it in a box or basket or wherever it is you throw the mail in to sort it later. If you don’t have such a container, well don’t look around wondering how it is that you ended up with so many piles of mail just lying around the house.
When you’re ready, take your mail basket to wherever you deal with paperwork.
First, pull out the circulars and flyers and set them aside; you’ll either clip the coupons or put them in the recycling bin—later. Also set aside the catalogs. If you’re shopping for something specific, save them. (Caveat: no multiples. The new catalog replaces the old one, which gets recycled.) If you’re getting catalogs you never wanted in the first place, pull off the pages with the mailing label and put them aside; that’s an action item for later. Then separate the rest: bills, personal correspondence, time-sensitive invitations, requests for charitable donations, membership renewals, new credit card offers and so forth.
Open the bills first, because they represent a relationship that must be honored; if you want the services, you have to pay for them. All the stuffing that says, “You’ve been selected to receive these free gifts” goes into the recycling bin. All you want is the bill and the return envelope.
Put any invitations aside; later on, you’ll transfer those into your calendar and send your response.
If there’s room in your home office, have small bins in which to stack bills, invitations and the correspondence you’re keeping.
When you’re done sorting, then you can read your magazines. Or get those back pages you ripped out, call the companies that sent them and tell them what you don’t want—their catalogs. (You can also log on to Catalogchoice.org, a free service that will stop these unwanted mailings from being sent to you.)
— Andrew Mellen, Professional organizer and author of Unstuff Your Life
5. Try the One-Month Cardboard Box Test
Not sure what you use and what you don’t in your kitchen? Here is a tried and true way to find out. Empty the contents of your kitchen utensils drawer into a cardboard box. For one month, put a utensil back into the drawer only if you take it out of the box to use it. If it’s still in the box after four weeks—you don’t need it. Pass it on to charity.
— Peter Walsh
6. Purge Your Closet the Smart Way
Turn all the clothes hanging in your closet so that the hangers face back-to-front. For the next six months, if you wear an item of clothing, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct way. If you try it on but decide not to wear it, make sure you put it back with the hanger turned backward—no cheating. Be prepared for a shock; you are going to find you own lots of clothes you have no use for. You should seriously consider getting rid of anything you don’t wear regularly.
— Peter Walsh
What are some of your decluttering methods? What’s motivating your need for minimalizing your life? I would love to know! Mine? I find that the saying, “Collect Moments Not Things” is what really drives me!
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