Declutter your life and you’ll reclaim your sanity? Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it?
On the one hand, yes, I’ll grant that it does smack of those ‘life hacks’ I usually try to steer clear of, but bear me out here.
I’m not saying spring cleaning your home will render you instantly sane again, but it will certainly have a positive effect on your life.
Declutter for Good, Not Just for Now
However, should you wish to hang onto that resulting sense of wellbeing a little while longer (like forever), then you first need to extend your efforts beyond the obvious.
People invariably assume that the physical clutter is the problem child in this equation, but stuff is invariably a symptom of a much larger issue.
In his book Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life, Joshua Becker reminds us that life is too valuable to waste chasing possessions.
At just $2,99 (less than the cost of a trip to Starbucks) and packed with practical tips and personal stories, the book is well worth a read.
Go ahead and buy it, but make sure you work on those underlying issues as well!
Just in Case
My Mom always referred to herself as a JIC person. It drove me around the bend, because going out with her was never a straightforward affair. I’d arrive to fetch her for lunch on a blistering hot day and she’d insist on bringing a coat, an umbrella and a shopping bag with the kitchen sink.
And those were just the JIC items she kept on her person. She also had countless other things in the house that she hung onto just in case she might need them someday.
There were the six inch glitter gold sandals (this was the seventies, hello Bee Gees!) she wore once to a Christmas ball and never again, the pair of jeans she bought but never found the courage to wear and the tennis racquet she no longer used. The list goes on (and on).
After she passed away, my aunt told me about an incident that had happened to Mom when she was much younger. Suddenly her need to be prepared for any eventuality made sense, she just needed to feel in control.
Declutter Your Habits and Issues First
Mom never took me up on my declutter challenge (no matter how many times I tried to cajole her into doing it). But even if she had, I doubt it would have made any difference. Before long, she would have been up to her ears in stuff again.
Why? Without first addressing her issues or her many other habits and foibles (Mom was nothing if not quirky), there would have been no point to the exercise. We’d have dealt with the symptom instead of looking for the cause.
As part of the silent generation, it’s unlikely my mother would have been willing or even able to properly unpack the issue that drove her to hoarding. But if she had I can only imagine how much easier her life would have been. For one thing that JIC albatross around her neck would very likely have disappeared.
There’s definitely something to be said for simplifying your life. So how about it, what is your clutter albatross? Let us know in the comments if you have one and more importantly, what you plan to do about it. Who knows, maybe we can help!