When clutter is weighing you down with the toys in the living room, beds unmade, dishes left in the sink… these things make us feel mentally cluttered. It makes our homes look messy and it makes our emotions feel messy.
In the book Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century (This book was based on a rigorous, nine-year project at UCLA where middle aged Americans are studied, watching how they use the space & things in their home), it states that clutter affects our mood. I couldn’t agree more. It affects our mood and how we feel about ourselves. This clutter, which is mostly things that we don’t even use, is weighing us down.
In the book they found that there is a connection between the objects in the house & the stress hormone levels. More Clutter = More Stress. (Women were far more stressed by it than men).
Why? Women are judging themselves and others on the cleanliness of their home. In their minds, a clean home meant a happy home. It made them feel accomplished and put together to have a well-maintained clean home.
When we start to have too much stuff, it can really put a weight on us. An emotional weight, but still a weight. It makes us feel like we have a never-ending list of things to do. It makes us feel frazzled and in disarray. It makes our tempers high and our patience low. Do you find yourself reprimanding your kids for not cleaning up? Or for no reason at all? It is because you are overwhelmed by the mess of it all, but having too much stuff. Do you know who feels our stress the most? Our kids. Read this study about what kids think about seeing their parents under stress.
It boils down to this: If you are thinking about how your house is cluttered… this is time that you aren’t spending LIVING YOUR LIFE. Once you are able to free yourself from the burden of these extra physical things, the ones that seem tie us down, we can let them go and have more time to spend on enjoying life.
Your home is where you should go to relax. You can walk into a clean, fresh, sun-lit home. You can walk into a home that welcomes you and invites you take joy in the day. We are going to get there.
So what now? If you feel like your clutter is causing you stress, what are you going to do about it?
You need to get organized. I have written over 50 posts on Organizing, because I whole-heartedly believe that being organized saves my sanity. I’ve realized that you can not organize clutter. You have got to just get rid of it.
You probably have too much stuff. Most of us do.
Why? There are usually a few reasons:
1- We don’t want to get rid of it and risk hurting someone’s feelings.
2- What if we want it ONE day? Will it come back into style? What if I want to make that fancy meal with that fancy appliance?
3- We have ‘back ups’. I literally had two crock-pots for about three years. I had five cookie sheets… which was more than was even able to fit into the oven at one time. Why? It was my back-up.
Your Homework: I want you to make yourself a list of the rooms in your home that feel cluttered to you. Write down what you can get rid of: Games, toys, clothing, junk drawer filled with 10 packs of return address stamps (some for each holiday, even though I rarely send letters).
ps- Don’t let that thought come in that says… “Oh- maybe the kids would like them? Maybe I should save them. I could even put them in an envelope just for return address stamps. Now they will be organized.” This is what you are trying to get rid of, remember? We are FREEING ourselves from clutter, not organizing it, not moving it around, not finding a place for it… we are freeing ourselves from it!
When you have figured out that you are truly ready to take action, you can either read this story about a family on Oprah that was forced to give up their “stuff” or you can download my book ($9.99) and start decluttering today.
No matter what you pick, remember that you can’t just push it under the rug. You’ve got to get rid of that clutter and there is no time like the present!
Check out my book, Freed from Clutter, where I will walk you through each room in your house until it is clutter-free.
I would also suggest signing up for my newsletter. It is free and I sent it out every week with parenting advice, organizing tips and saving-money ideas.
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