Watch one of the many hoarding and decluttering TV shows nowadays and you’ll see that people fall on a spectrum depending on whether they prefer clean, open living and working spaces, or whether they like surrounding themselves with stuff.
So, where do you fall: are you a neat freak or a sentimental clutterbug? Are you the kind of person who can’t function unless everything is arranged in straight lines and all your surfaces are totally clear of clutter? Or are you someone who can’t stand to let go of things because ‘they may come in handy’ or because of the memories associated with them? Perhaps you fall somewhere in the middle.
How can you decide whether your housekeeping habits fall within the realm of the acceptable, or whether you have some issues to deal with? In a nutshell, if your tendency to hang on to stuff is negatively affecting you and your family’s ability to function ‘normally’, harmoniously or healthily, then you should consider shedding some of the dead weight. Or if you feel embarrassed to have people around, that might also be a clue!
Maybe you can take your lead from the various cultures that follow a tradition of ‘spring cleaning’. These rituals reflect a belief that clearing out, cleansing and making space in your environment gets rid of negative energy, and opens the way for better things to come into your life.
As we enter the heart of the festive season and are surrounded by encouragement to buy and accumulate more and more things, it’s an excellent time to take a step back and consider the benefits of decluttering.
Probably the most important reason to declutter is how the process helps clear away the cobwebs of body, mind and soul: clean, uncluttered surfaces and spaces allow us room to breathe – they feel good. Here are some other reasons to get rid of the excess – you’ll:
- be able to start afresh
- become more organised and productive;
- reduce stress: have a clearer, calmer mind;
- develop a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what you have;
- create a safer, healthier environment;
- achieve a sense of accomplishment;
- have a better social (and romantic!) life;
- help others by passing on the things you don’t need
- gain more time, energy, space and freedom;
- save (and make) money.
The bad news: you’ll have to put in some elbow grease. The good news: you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create a warm and welcoming space. You just need to see the positive side of owning less stuff.
The first step is to stop being in denial and start taking control of your things instead of letting your things control you. So before adding to your stash of stuff this festive season, why not embrace the less is more philosophy? [500 words]
- For some easy pointers on how best to tackle your clutter and whip your space into shape, look out for our next holiday article: ‘Affordable festive season makeovers: treat yourself to a décor revamp without breaking the bank.’ If you haven’t already, sign up to follow our blog here.
Written by Erica Kleine (December 2015)