Here’s an interesting idea. All that stuff you have laying around the house, the yard, the garage, the office, and not to mention the storage building you had to rent because you couldn’t fit it anywhere else is adding to your stress load. It may sound odd, but your material possessions may be stressing you out.
There’s a good reason why more and more people embrace various forms of minimalism. There’s a lot of peace and tranquility to be found when what you own is comprehensible and easy to keep track of. When you have a lot of stuff, you have to keep mental tabs on it all. The more possessions we pile up, the more heavily the responsibility of taking care of and accounting for everything weighs on us. Most of this happens on an unconscious level. Which slowly leaks into the conscious level.
The simple act of cleaning out your closet or a junk drawer and throwing out anything you no longer want or need is incredibly freeing. A weight is lifted off your shoulder and as an added bonus you end up with more space, including mental space!
Speaking of space; t’s the root of the problem – at least in part. Our homes are bigger than ever. Take a look at your childhood home by comparison or go even further back in history and look at the average house and room size. It was tiny in comparison to houses being built today. And let’s not even get into the huge amounts of storage space our homes have these days.
We tend to fill our dwellings with things as long as they fit. When room is at a short supply, we look for container and organizer solutions that allow us to cram more stuff into the same amount of space. There’s a reason we have “container stores” now and professional organizers. The amount of worldly possessions we own has grown out of control and it’s taking a toll on our physical and mental health.
How can you reduce the stress your things cause you? You do it one drawer, one closet, one box, and one room at a time. Start with something, anything and go through and declutter. Keep the stuff that’s truly important to you and either toss or donate the rest. Rinse and repeat.
Be patient with yourself. This process will take time. Don’t be tempted to purge it all in one major session unless you’re the type of person for whom this is the only way it will get done. Instead work on one category or one room at a time. When you’re done, go through it all again. This time it will go much faster, but you’ll be surprised about how many other things you’ll find that you can easily live without.
Give it a try. It’s a freeing feeling and even the act of declutter itself is a great stress buster.
This is an insanely popular book on decluttering: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing