The life of the average person contains many stressors. Most of these are mild and create no lingering effects; we get over them and move on with our lives. However, most of those stressors are intangible such as issues at work or a minor family conflict.
However, one major stressor that is tangible, that sits right under our noses and yet we still don’t see it is clutter. The average American home has 300,000 items in it. This is largely due to the fact that many Americans own larger homes than in generations past but a good portion of these households also rent off-site storage for other items.
Think about that. In many cases one’s home, however large, is still not capable of housing all of one’s stuff.
The decluttering movement has taken hold over recent years and more people are realizing that less is more when it comes to the things you own. If you’re ready to get started and create a more minimalistic, less stressful home and life the following steps are some great ways to get started.
Start With Your Clothing
According to some statistics the average American woman owns 30 outfits. This does not include items like pajamas, accessories, shoes, and the other things that fill our closets and drawers to capacity. For women it can be hard to let go of clothing; we might continuously think that we’ll wear a certain dress someday. but then it just languishes on the hanger for years. It’s time to take action.
If you haven’t worn an item of clothing in six months it needs to go. If it doesn’t fit it needs to go. The same goes with your children’s clothes. Every six months have a “let’s see if it fits” fashion show and retire those pieces that are too small. You can donate these items to your favorite charity or, for more expensive items, take them to your local consignment shop.
American children have more toys than children in any other country in the world, yet they actually play with about 10 percent of the things they have. Yes, even if they’ve not used a toy in months they are still very likely to put up a fight when the notion of donating it gets put on the table. There may even be tears.
One way to tackle the clutter in your kids’ rooms is to go slowly and give them options. Offer them two plastic bins, each randomly filled with the same amount of toys. Explain that they get to keep one bin and the other will be donated. As you help your child sort the toys ask questions. When was the last time you played with this? What do you like about this toy that you don’t like about another? Using this method, sorting between the bins let’s your child know he or she has a choice and that can help the process move along a little easier.
When most people think of clutter they think of the things stuffed in the back of the closet or piled up in the guest room. They rarely think about the larger items they own such as cars, exercise equipment, boats, and other items that may be more valuable but are still never used. Even if these items aren’t taking up space in your garage if you’re not using them they’re clutter and to top it off you’re paying to store it.
Donating an old boat or other larger forgotten or broken-down item comes with some added benefits. Any licensed charity that receives larger items will give you a receipt that you can then use as a deduction on your taxes. So if you’re not using that boat or Jet Ski or if that hobby car you bought is still untouched donate it, get it out of your space, and move on.
Creating and maintaining a clutter-free life not only frees up space in your house and garage but it also saves you money if you’ve been paying for off-site storage. It can also lift a huge weight from your shoulders. More stuff means more work and more hassles and to finally be free of those burdens feels nice. Just keep it that way.