Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things that you want to do? Are you spending your time looking for things, cleaning up and out, organizing, “decluttering”, and generally shifting things from one spot to another?
Lately, I have been hyper aware of how much the clutter in my life is costing me – and I don’t mean money.
These days I measure cost in units of time.
When I spend my time trying to get out from under all the stuff in my house – I am losing out on spending those precious minutes, hours, days, and weeks doing things that I like to do.
Instead of cleaning and organizing – I could be doing other things that I love or just want to do. Things like:
- spending time with family and friends,
- reading a book,
- working out,
- working on my blog,
- making healthy meals,
- or just about anything else that is more enjoyable than decluttering.
If you, too, are feeling the burden of having too much stuff – then the time to start digging out from under is now.
This is how to begin.
Embrace a Minimalist Mindset
The hardest part of decluttering is – well – getting rid of the clutter.
This is a sensitive topic. I have seen so many discussions in facebook groups where people want to get organized but are tired of being told that they have to get rid of all the things.
I am solidly in the “get rid of it” camp.
It is hard parting with the stuff – especially the memories.
But there are things in my home that no one has used or even looked at for years.
And those things are weighing me down for sure.
Be practical and realistic as you go through your things.
Think about what you really need and only keep those items around.
Strive for minimalism.
Remind Yourself of the Opportunity Costs
In the business world, an opportunity cost refers to an opportunity that you miss out on because you are too busy doing something else.
In terms of clutter, this could mean so many things:
- being late for an appointment because you can’t find your car keys
- spending hours dusting, cleaning, and maintaining all your stuff instead of doing something more enjoyable
- using space in your home for storage of unused items instead of using that same space for
free movement, storing things you use more often, or as a place for newer acquisitions
- being unable to move to a new place because of the sheer volume of things you have.
As you go through your stuff and pare down – remind yourself of what holding onto something will cost you – and let that help you decide whether to let something go or keep it.
Will Your Kids Really Want It?
Now that my children are young adults, I try to look at my possessions through their eyes.
Are these things that they will really want when I pass on? Probably not.
And do I really want to make them sacrifice their time one day cleaning out my stuff? Definitely not.
As an adult child with elderly parents of my own – I am trying to help them downsize now, while they still can, because there is much in their home that they don’t need or use.
In the book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, Margareta Magnusson says
“You can always hope and wait for someone to want something in your home, but you cannot wait forever, and sometimes you must just give cherished things away with the wish that they end up with someone who will create new memories of their own.”
When I have a hard time letting something useful go – I try to take solace in knowing that someone else will benefit from the item.
Declutter to Free Up Space in Your Life
If clutter is effecting your quality of life – you are not alone.
Think about what all your stuff is really costing you in terms of time, space, money, and your own energy.
Life is too short – use it to do the things that really matter.