At some point, everybody realizes they’ve been hanging on to some possessions for too long. Whether they’re keepsakes, clothing, toys, or relics from antiquity, it doesn’t take long for clutter to build up.
How does it happen?
The inability to let go of possessions can be linked to powerful emotions. Some people attach objects to memories and are afraid of forgetting a person or experience. Others fear change and the objects with which they’re surrounded are familiar to them. Some have a hard time throwing things away out of fear of wastefulness. In some extreme cases, a hoarding mentality may be the root of the problem, and professional help should be sought.
What’s the harm?
Being surrounded by clutter can be harmful to your health. In addition to hindering your potential for change and growth, being surrounded by clutter can cause stress as your brain must take in and process all of the information as it navigates the chaotic surroundings. A cluttered area can also be distracting when you try to accomplish a task. The buildup of objects can also accumulate dust and house harmful bacteria, which can be harmful when inhaled.
Most people don’t want to admit they have a hard time letting go of the past, or are afraid of change. Instead, most people say something along the lines of:
- I just don’t have time to go through everything
- I don’t know where to start
- It might be valuable
- I might use it someday
- I’m saving it for my future children
These excuses aren’t necessarily invalid, but a lot of times they’re simply covering up the underlying problem. Here are some solutions to overcoming those excuses:
- Set a time to declutter 20 minutes per day, and no more.
- Pick one room, and only work on that room until finished.
- If the item could be valuable, get it valued. If not, donate the piece ASAP.
- If you haven’t used the item in the past month or, if it’s past season, donate the unwanted item.
- Will your future children use or want the item? Will they understand its value? Be realistic. And if not, donate.
The Sorting Process
As your sort through your belongings and throw out your excuses, ask yourself these questions about your items to help you determine if you should keep, store, sell, or throw out the object in question.
- Is it useful or of value?
- If you aren’t sure, put the item in a box with other “maybes” and hide it for a month. After a month and you haven’t missed it, get rid of it.
- Too many clothes? Turn your hangers around, and as you wear items hang them forward again. After a month donate any unworn clothing.
- Invest in a filing cabinet or other storage system for paperwork to stay organized. Digitize all you can to minimize clutter.
- Throw out anything dangerous. This includes old medications, rusty metal objects, etc.
- Is it valuable? Sell it, if you have the time. If you don’t within a month, donate it.
- Is it worth preserving and handing down? If so, invest in quality storage materials to preserve it through time.
- Will it have legitimate future worth/usage? Store it appropriately.
Finally decluttering can be liberating and exciting. If you need some help getting started, or setting up an organization or storage system, call us toll free at 1.877.STORE.HERE.