Are you fighting a never-ending battle with clutter? If you think you are alone, you’re not!
According to the National Association of Professional Organizers:
- 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by clutter.
- 55% say clutter is a huge source of stress.
- 33% hold onto things they no longer want, need, or use.
Americans are “dueling” with too much stuff, and they know that it is impacting their health, wealth, and relationships. It is costing them time, money, energy – and focus.
The Pain of Living Cluttered Lives
Stop! Buying more pretty baskets, storage containers or organizing bins is like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.
Americans are drowning in their stuff, and we are making desperate attempts (like buying more files, shelves, and plastic bins) to try to take back control of our lives. Our overabundance of “stuff” is making us miserable, causing stress, anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, and embarrassment.
The impact that it has on the quality of our lives is great. Our cluttered lives prevent us from living a simpler life with less, so we have more time, money, freedom, and energy to pursue what matters most to us.
Buying more “stuff” doesn’t make us happier. In fact, the more we buy, the emptier and less fulfilled we become. Once we disrupt the downward spiral of thinking we need more, and once we change our relationship to “stuff,” we will win the battle! Stuff will no longer own or consume our life. We’ll get our life back and never look back!
Many people complain that they do not have enough room for all their stuff, while at the same time saying they know they need to get rid of stuff they no longer want, need, or use. They are afraid to let go, and yet, they continue to accumulate and add more.
Americans are drowning in “stuff,” yet we continue to buy more. Here’re a few scary clutter statistics:
- 300,000 – this is the average number of items in the American home (UCLA study).
- 11% of Americans will rent a storage unit in 2020 at a cost of $1,095 per year (Bloomberg).
- $38 billion – that’s how much the storage industry was worth in 2018 with more than 50,000 facilities in the U.S. (Bloomberg).
Every day, people try to solve their own clutter crisis. But, before dealing with the physical clutter, it’s even more important to honestly address these difficult and confronting questions:
WHY Do You Want to Declutter?
- What is the impact clutter is having on the quality of your life and on your happiness?
- WHAT is it costing you in time, money, energy, and freedom?
- HOW is it impacting your relationships?
WHY Do You Buy and Accumulate More Than You Need? Does It…
- Make you feel more secure?
- Or make you feel happier and less lonely after loss or divorce?
- Make you feel more important, more successful?
- Maybe, make you feel like you can measure up to others?
WHY Do You Have Difficulty Letting Go of Stuff?
We often attach meaning to our stuff and are afraid, resist, or procrastinate in letting go.
- Sentiment – Our “stuff” can be reminders or memories of special people, places, or times in our lives.
- Security – Feeling safe and secure is a basic human need. Does owning an excessive amount of physical possessions make us feel safer and more secure?
- Scarcity – Fear of not having enough or being without can have us hold on tight. The idea that we spent “good money” on something and would be wasting it if we got rid of it is also a reason we don’t want to let go.
- Someday – Resisting or procrastinating in letting go… just in case you might need it someday!
10-Step Plan to Win the Battle with Clutter
Here is a handy 10-step plan that can help you win your space for yourself and effectively get rid of clutter.
Create a vision for what your life will look like without clutter. Then, focus on what matters most in your life.
2. Willingness to Do What It Takes
Commit to making changes – getting rid of clutter and not allowing it back into your home and your life.
3. Stop Buying More
Develop the mindset of having enough and being enough. You don’t really need more.
4. Create a Plan
Strategize. Set Goals. Create a Timeline. Track progress. Have accountability partners.
5. Ask for Help
If you think you need help, ask for it. From family, friends, professionals who are not emotionally attached to your stuff.
6. Schedule Decluttering
Pick a favorite decluttering method and a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Start small or start big. Just start today!
7. Develop Your “Letting Go” Muscle
If you don’t want it, need it, or use it, let it go. Sell it, donate it, repurpose it.
8. Have Fun
Make decluttering a game. Laugh at yourself and why you accumulated so much in the first place.
9. Be Resilient
You will get stuck, you will want to quit, you will question why you are doing this. Recall your reasons for wanting to live with less. This will serve as a reminder and motivate you to continue on your journey.
10. Remember, This Is a Journey
Along the way, you might actually realize how much less you need, but even better, how much less you want.
Decluttering is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment. It takes real courage to “duel” with your clutter. But, be sure, this is a fight worth winning!