We all like to think we could lead a calmer, less stressful life if our homes and offices were less cluttered. And it’s true – if everything is stored neatly away and we only keep the things we really need then it’s easy to find the things we do need and so life is calmer.

De-cluttering can help you reduce the amount of stress in your life, live a calmer existence and be able to think more clearly. It will help you appreciate the possessions that are special enough to keep and can even help support a local charity. That sounds like a big bonus for what is essentially just tidying up and getting rid of the things we don’t need. But it really does work. In an effort to encourage us all to take control of our clutter there are even annual de-cluttering weeks in the USA and in the UK.

If de-cluttering is so good for us why do we need to be encouraged to do it?

No matter how much we might like the idea of de-cluttering, often the reality of sorting out our possessions and clearing out anything that we don’t need or want any longer is too daunting a task for us to know where to begin. In a very cluttered home it can even be hard to find the space to sort through our belongings.

Human beings are also instinctive hoarders – we have all done it – keeping something “just in case we need it”. And if you happen to have plenty of storage space then there can seem to be no good reason not to keep those “just in case” items. With garages no longer just for cars and loft spaces no longer just for old suitcases and trunks we are tending to pack these storage spaces full of items we simply can’t bear to part with or haven’t the time to sort out and decide what to keep.

But the excuse of not having enough time to sort through everything is just that – an excuse – and not a very good one. If you had a more clutter-free home you would be surprised at how much extra time you have because you are not constantly rummaging around looking for important paperwork or whatever it is you find yourself hunting for in your home on a regular basis.

What exactly is de-cluttering?

It is not simply tidying and finding a storage place for everything but actually drastically reducing the amount of stuff we own – and keeping it that way. There will always be some things that need to be stored away – particularly seasonal items like bicycles, surf-boards, gardening tools, out-of-season clothes or Christmas decorations. There are also items with genuine sentimental value – wedding photos, pictures of your children when they were small, treasured books and CDs (although hard drive storage for your music avoids shelves of CDs) that you will always want to keep. But anything that doesn’t fall into one of these categories is, let’s face it, just junk. Any clothes, shoes or bags that you haven’t worn for a couple of years can also be classified as junk unless they have real sentimental value.

De-cluttering is not intended to destroy our memories but to clear out everyday items to create a clutter-free environment that will allow us to think more clearly and act more calmly.

So forget the excuses and start to make your home a sanctuary instead of a place that adds to the stresses of everyday life. But if you really can’t bring yourself to throw away or give away your possessions then why not rent a self-storage unit for a few months and store everything there. You will soon find that you actually can live without all that stuff and will start to see the benefits for yourself of taking control of your clutter.

 

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