Do you share a home with a bunch of stuff? Are you always wondering how in the world everything continues to get so messy? Maybe you wish there was more space to place the belongings you actually use. If you can relate to any of this, I know exactly how you feel. I was here before starting my journey to a home without clutter.
Before we get into why reducing clutter is such a primary key to happiness, let’s briefly talk about what it is. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, clutter is a noun meaning: a crowded or confused mass or collection. In other words, it’s a simple word for a bunch of stuff that can make life miserable. It’s more than a desk covered with papers or a closet full of old tennis rackets. It’s the things that invade our place of peace.
If certain things make us unhappy, why do we insist on holding on to them? Well speaking for myself, I used to believe that the very moment I decided to get rid of something, I would need it in some way. I also had unhealthy emotional attachments to things that I had accumulated over the years. I held on to everything.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the effect this “stuff” had on me. The emotional attachment was not with the particular thing itself, but what I felt it represented.
What Prompted the Change
I’ve lived in Japan for almost eight years. If you’ve ever spent a decent length of time here, you’ll understand what I’m about to say. Homes here are small. When we moved here, we couldn’t bring half of our furniture because space here is insufficient for large American items. Before we left my husband’s last duty station, we were briefed about what all we could and could not bring. I thought it was a huge exaggeration—until we landed and moved into our new home. Although quaint and cozy, when I laid eyes on the place, I was worried that the little furniture we did bring wasn’t going to fit.
It took some significant adjusting and getting used to, but I finally got to the place where I realized that the pieces of furniture and other knick-knacks we left behind were no longer needed. In other words, many of my so-called precious belongings had gained the title of clutter.
Things I Consider As Clutter
So, what are the things that I’ve decided I can now live without? Besides the typical, useless piles of paper (not essential documents because that’s a whole other post) I’ll tell you. It’s okay if you don’t agree with my list, and by all means, please don’t get offended!
- Figurines—especially those little glass thingys. I used to buy them and show them off in my curio cabinets as if the more I had set me at a higher social status in life. Right.
- Clothes that don’t fit. I bought a pink and black vintage dress about six years ago to wear to an event. It was a bit small, but it was one of the prettiest articles of clothing I owned. Well, I never fit the dress and never removed the price tag. Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps subconsciously I knew I would never fit into that dress, which is why I didn’t remove the tag. I had no intention of making a real effort to wear it.
- Anything that I haven’t used or even thought about over the course of a year or more.
- Whatever I have that doesn’t perform well. These are items that need additional help to work as they should. This type of thinking is how I developed the quality over quantity attitude. I now choose to invest in products which deliver the kind of quality I’m looking for.
- Articles that open old wounds and invoke negative feelings.
I don’t know about you, but I only want to keep things around that make me feel good. I’m not advocating suppressed feelings, but any picture, letter, or piece of clothing that triggers unpleasant memories or gives me negative vibes has got to go.
Ever since I began to purge on a regular basis, I feel lighter. My home feels better; things are much easier to find, and organizing is a breeze.
If you’ve been feeling like your home is not what you want it to be, clutter could be the issue. Getting rid of a houseful of unwanted items is longer than an overnight process, but it’s something you’ll be happy you did.
Do you have things in your home that you want to get rid of but can’t because of emotional attachment?