Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stressless Saturday: Eliminating Clutter

Are you overwhelmed by clutter? Most of us have clothes we never wear, piles of stuff in our garages and closets, and boxes that we haven’t opened for years. Sometimes we wake up in the morning, see the stacks of paper on our desk, or the overflowing files, and we feel like we are starting the day already behind on our to-do-list. Clutter can sap your energy and leaves you less able to work efficiently. Clutter causes you to waste time because you have to sort through the mess to find what you need.

So, how do we eliminate clutter…and move from overwhelmed to stress less? According to, clutter means:

  • to fill or litter in a disorderly manner
  • A disorderly heap or assemblage; litter
  • A state or condition of confusion
Living a clutter free life is more than just cleaning up. It means changing the way we view our possessions. Many times we avoid clearing out clutter because it would mean dealing with difficult emotions…so we hold on tightly to our pasts not realizing that our “stuff” is causing stress.

  • Have you ever held onto clothes that don’t fit because you’re sure that you will “get back into them?’ Getting rid of them would mean accepting that you weigh more than you like.
  • Have you lost a loved one and feel guilty getting rid of their clothes or possessions? Letting go of their stuff forces you to deal with the fact that they are gone.
  • Do you hold onto sports equipment or hobby supplies even when you don’t use them anymore? By getting rid of them you may have to admit that you have aged and are not able to do the things you could when you were younger, and in shape.

Take a look around your house and see how many things you are holding onto for “sentimental” reasons that are really there because you don’t want to deal with your emotional baggage. Once you have determined why you hold onto these items, begin sorting through them by using these categories:

  • Keep- clothing, shoes, and accessories that fit and you love
  • Friends and/or family - bless someone else’s life with meaningful items
  • Fix- items that can be worn again with a little help
  • Sell- items you’d like to sell on e-bay or Craig's’s list or a yard sale instead of donate
  • Donate - someone else may need what you no longer want!
  • Seasonal- items that need to be stored for another season
  • Trash- torn, stained, unusable
  • Move it– things that belong in another room
And don’t forget these rules!

  • When something new comes in, something old goes out
  • Think before you buy - stop clutter before it starts

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