By Mary Holmes
If you feel like you have more “things” than you need, you are not alone. Many people fall into a frustrating cycle of accumulating possessions, never mustering the energy or time to find a new home when they are no longer needed, and then accumulating more possessions. Pretty soon, many of us are overwhelmed and don’t even know where to begin. Whether you are thinking it is time to downsize your home or you made a New Year’s Resolution to simplify, here are some reasons why you will be better off – in mind and body - if you start the process sooner rather than later.
Less Stuff, Less Dust
If every surface in your home is covered with knick knacks, papers, clothes, etc., you have a very welcoming environment for dust, dust mites and even mold. Even if you don’t have a confirmed allergy, breathing in these particles can lead to respiratory irritation and even long-term health issues. Most of us make an effort to clean regularly, but we might not think about the hidden places that mold and dust can hide. For example, if you store your extra luggage under the bed, chances are you aren’t moving them on a regular basis to vacuum or sweep. Same goes for a bureau or bookshelf covered with items collected over a life well-lived. Decluttering can provide healthier air for you to breath in your home.
No More “Where is My . . . “
We are all familiar with this concept. You are late for work or an appointment because you are looking for that black sweater you know you have; wasting time looking for your favorite measuring spoons that have become buried in a mound of kitchen gadgets you never use. Then there is the blame game. You are sure your spouse or child have used or lost what you are looking for. This constant searching causes a great deal of stress! By keeping only those possessions that you love and use regularly, you will cut down on this emotional strain.
Protect Your Physical Safety and Avoid Injury
This is true for everyone, but in particular those of us who are advancing in age. A house that has unnecessary clutter can cause physical injury. If you have to reach over things to get to what you are really looking for or if your floor is cluttered and you need to pay close attention to not trip and fall, your chances of sustaining an injury drastically increase. Simply stated, decluttering can keep you safe.
Decluttered Space, Decluttered Mind
There is a great deal of research that shows that the space we live in has a direct correlation to the state of our minds. Related research also shows that if you simplify your living space and lighten up on material possessions no longer needed or loved, you may experience positive changes in your life overall. This may come in the form of more creativity, inner peace, higher productivity, or less stress and chaos.
Help Those in Need
It is definitely a difficult process to “let go” of our possessions – maybe you’re worried you may need it sometime in the future, you have a sentimental connection, or perhaps you received it as a gift. One way to feel better about the process of saying goodbye is to donate these items to someone who really could use them. If you have a closet full of winter coats, consider the good feeling you’d get by giving a few away to people or families in need. Most communities have organizations that will accept donations of clothing, furniture or other items, and some will even pick up from your home. Goodwill and Salvation Army are national donation organizations that have hundreds of locations – check local listings for your closest donation center.
Stay tuned for our next Blog Post, where we will discuss steps to get you started with Decluttering.