For generations, the American dream was to own more things – more clothes … more electronics … more appliances. What did we get from that notion? Garages and storage units packed to the brim with just plain too much stuff.
Not only does saving items eventually grow into piles and piles, but experts say eventually it can turn into embarrassment, stress and depression. Even worse, it reflects a more serious obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires treatment.
But experts also agree that organizing your home and life can give you peace of mind. Which in the end, that’s what we’re really looking for – harmony and happiness.
Here are 5 ways to help you get started decluttering your home and life:
- If you have a lot of things that you eventually want to part with, you can ease the pain a little by giving away just one thing every day. Within one year, you will have given away 365 things that you didn’t need.
- Another way to donate a mass of items, but in a faster way – grab a large garbage bag and fill it with as many things that will fit. Once it’s in the bag, it can’t come back out. Immediately drive to a nearby charity that accepts items and donate the entire bag without opening it again.
- If you’re a numbers person, try Project 33 that challenges people to wear only 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. If that seems too little, adjust the number and then stick to it. You’ll learn to live with that and eventually adjust to being content with less.
- Another numbers strategy is the 12-12-12 Challenge. Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to give away and 12 items to be returned to their proper place in your home. Within a short time, you’ll have organized 36 things in your house.
- If you’re up for a quick challenge, try 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips. Pick one that you like and devote a solid 5 minutes to it. They are fun and simple, ranging from organizing papers, picking just one counter or shelf to organize, or making a long-range plan for tackling the larger projects.
Remember, you didn’t accumulate everything in one day so don’t expect to go from pack rat to bare minimalist overnight. Start small, even if it’s just a drawer or one closet. If you have problems making decisions, ask a friend to help you with some of the tough decisions.
Consider seeking professional help if you feel you have greater needs than just a friend can offer. Experts agree that hanging on to items may have deeper emotional reasons.
In the end, getting rid of useless clutter can help set you free from hanging on to the past and moving on to a brighter and happier future.