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Decluttering: Adding Value to Everything in Life

At a time when consumerism is everywhere, it’s easy to get lost in the thrill of buying stuff. At least once a month, online stores set up massive sales with unimaginable discounts and free delivery. Of course, it convinces consumers to hit the “check-out” button. After all, free delivery is the online shopper’s kryptonite.

So, there’s more stuff, and so much more waiting to arrive. People are glad to do it again in the next month. Shopping gives a similar pleasure when indulging substantive vices and then followed by guilt. When someone does it over and over enough, it becomes a vicious cycle.

What adds to this guilty pleasure is the excitement from the shopping experience itself. Maybe a person has been looking for a new pair of shoes or a coat that looks cute on Pinterest. Looking for it all over the mall or the online shop will feel like a hunt, and the reward is the best feeling ever. This fuels the shopper to keep going.

The Stress of Clutter

What happens when life is full of stuff? That everywhere a person looks, there’s a pile of things. Some are discarded. Some haven’t been opened. Then, there are those that people own “just because”.

It’s a tough spot to be in. Science says so. Clutter stresses people out. It’s not just a mom thing. When there’s clutter, there’s a lot of stimulation going on. Visually, there are a lot of logos, colors, and objects for the brain to process all at once. There can also be smells and feelings that need to be unpacked—not just physically but also mentally.

It could be difficult to find things when there’s clutter. There’s a looming apprehension of where something is or if it’s still there. This clutter is symbolic of what’s going on mentally.

Starting a New Life

All this stress can weigh a person down more than they realize. It’s something small, and something they can get used to, but it can be alleviated. Letting go of things can be hard because of the meanings people attached to them. After a strenuous day of cleaning the house and decision-making, everything will feel lighter, brighter, and more spacious. Here are questions to help with evaluating whether an object should stay or go:

  • Do you use it? How often? Does it make life easier when you do?
  • Will losing the item impair everyday life?
  • How does it help the flow around the house?
  • Is it gathering dust?
  • Is there a huge chance that an event will actually happen? Maybe the event only happens in movies, books, and TV.
  • Did you forget you have that item?

The things that should stay are those that people need and make their life better every single day. For example, a lamp. If the lamp is there because somebody in the house prefers it over ceiling lights, it’s better to keep the lamp. However, if it’s only there for interior design reasons, and there are a thousand more lamps in the home, it’s time to let go.

man taking out the trash

Adding Value to Possessions

The focus is not on who has the fewest possessions. It’s not stripping oneself of everything they own. It’s about the value and meaning people assign to these things.

Sometimes, people treat possessions as signifiers of class. A brand new, high-end car means a good financial status. An outdated phone means a person is probably not high up there. This can be an unhealthy relationship with objects because a person may not see them for their functionality.

Perhaps, Marie Kondo is up to something good. “Does it spark joy?” She would ask. The idea in this kind of practice is that every item in one’s life should serve a greater purpose–more than just being stored or readied for a future event. Books, for example, are so valuable for bookworms because it’s something they genuinely enjoy. A paint collection is useful for an artist.

In finding value, functionality and happiness are immediate. It should be recurring because otherwise, it would be easy to add value to every single thing.

On The Next Sale

You could skip it. You’ll save a lot of money, and there’s nothing much to miss. Maybe you don’t need another pair of shoes because you already have it in a different shade of the same color. Maybe a corner in the house can survive without adding decor.

Consider decluttering, and you might find things that you have been meaning to buy. These things might just be tucked away or hidden at the bottom of the pile. It’s time to move the treasure hunt from the mall to the home.

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