What’s the hype with decluttering?

It’s been a few years since decluttering became a household word. The act has become a sensation to the point where Netflix has a series and YouTube has tons of videos on it. Some might ask, “Why is this such a big deal? Cleaning is not revolutionary.” Well, it can be. In these days, we might have some time to tackle it.

Decluttering, as the word states, is the art of getting rid of clutter. Clutter is anything that is not being appreciated, therefore not properly used. Even though the process is about material items, it is a reflection of our psychological state. Mess can be a shield protecting us from a scary world, or what we hold on to avoid moving on, or an obstacle to our dreams that we haven’t shown the strength to climb over. In short, mess is more than dirt and disorganization.

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

Because determining what is important and what is not is very subjective, decluttering does not equal minimalism, it just means to remove from our life those things that are not useful to us. It may sound simple, but because it tugs at the heart, it can be challenging. We are up for a challenge.

Multiple things can make it hard to let go:

  • We believe that our things hold our identity. A great example of this is in our decor. For some people, having unique objects or the most advanced tech shows that they are intellectuals or cool. All of these can take us to great worlds of fun, but those experiences live in us, and not in the item itself. For that reason, I’ve tried to keep my collection to the items that hold some practicality to my life.
  • We want to get our money’s worth. This was one of the main reasons why I had two closets. I grew up understanding that I should not take money for granted, so I wanted to wear things until they would be unwearable. That was not feasible for me because I would always bring new things into my closet. I finally deciphered that I made some purchases with other goals in mind, like retail therapy or taking advantage of a sale, and not to necessarily wear something often, thus, once the purpose was met, I could discard the item. This was very eye-opening and of course helped me be more cognizant of my shopping habits.
  • We think that the memory is in the item. Souvenirs can do this to you. We buy them to remember and then end up with a mismatched collection of paraphernalia that we have no clue what to do with. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have any souvenirs, but don’t fall into the tourist trap. Get something that you can use today. As a plan A, remember that a picture can definitely take you back to that moment.

I bet you didn’t think that it was going to be that deep! Unfortunately, this time of abundance has led us to forget that items are to be used and not mindlessly brought home. The freedom to purchase tricks us into thinking that we will be happier with more, when what we truly desire is to stay free. Items can bog us down into a routine we don’t want to comply with and a life we have to work unnecessarily hard for.

I challenge you to take drawer or small bookcase, and put in a box all things you haven’t touched in six months. Move the box out of sight. Set a reminder on your phone for 30 days. If you have not reached back for the box, get rid of it all. You’ll learn how little you really need. Let me know how it goes!

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