Clutter Awareness Week is celebrated annually during the third week in March. Some folks say it is the 4th week of March, but that detail doesn't really matter. What is important is that you are aware of the clutter that occupies your spaces. So-o-o-o... over the next two weeks, take a good look around your home and office and ask yourself:
- Are there things that are just taking up space--not used, not loved?
- Are there great ideas and unfinished projects that you hope to get to someday?
- Are you keeping things because of a potential usefulness?
- Do you believe that sometime in the future your stuff will have financial value? You just might be shocked that no one wants your stuff. (Read Forbes article, Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents' Stuff.) Oh, gee...maybe nobody wants mine either!
Maybe you don't even recognize your stuff as being clutter. Has it has been hanging around so long you are blind to its presence? Or, maybe you have successfully hidden the clutter away in the back of the closet, up in the attic, out in the backyard shed...
What is clutter?
Clutter is anything that is taking up space without serving a real purpose. Sometimes it is easier to let clutter stay put than to acknowledge that you r-e-a-l-l-y don't know why you are keeping it. Regardless of the reasons, clutter causes stress--physical, emotional and psychological stress.
There is a fine line between treasures and clutter. You can easily make that determination when you are aware of the purpose of everything in your life. Possessions should enhance your life, not detract from it. Do you love it? Does it add beauty? Is it truly a treasure with a purpose or just another gadget, memento, item on the shelf?
The Hidden Cost of Clutter
- Emotional costs - Are you overwhelmed looking for a specific item in the midst of excess? Is chaos and confusion a part of your everyday life? Do you suffer from mental clutter? Too much to do with too little time? And, who is going to reckon with the attic, basement shelves, closets, cabinets and storage facility when your life takes an unexpected detour?
- Financial costs - How much money is wasted when you have too much -- food, cosmetics, household supplies? Does waste create havoc with your budget? Do you purchase duplicates because you can't find what you want when you want it? Do you miss deadlines and end up paying extra fees?
- Spatial costs - How much space do you live it? How much space is used for storage of the excess? What is the value of your space? Take the cost of your home and divide by the total square footage - example: $150,000 divided by 1200 sq feet (length x wide) = $125 per square foot. Is clutter worth occupying that prime real estate?
- Time Costs - Can you find what you want when you want it, or are you constantly searching for lost items? How much time is wasted on a daily basis when too much stuff gets in the way?
- Maintenance Costs - How much do you spend (financially and time wise) to care for, clean, store and maintain your possessions? Are your possessions possessing you?
- Professional Costs - Do you show up late for work? Do you present yourself as shy, unkept or insecure? Do you frequently apologizing for missing deadlines? Have you missed opportunities because you are unprepared, in the wrong place, at the wrong time? Is your morning routine a hassle and tiresome? Is there a nagging feeling you forgot something before leaving the house? Does guilt prevail as you push your loved ones out the front door?
"Clutter is the by-product of indecision"
Beware of the cost of clutter and the impact on your life. Make the decision to stop the expense of keeping unwanted, unloved, unused, unappreciated stuff. Make room for more breathing space, more time, more money and less stress.
If you don't use it, get rid of it now! Otherwise, the cost of keeping stuff can be huge in the long run.
Life Management Skills:
- Value your space.
- Always leave all areas of your home clean, clutter-free -- the office, kitchen, family room, top of the dresser, closets, bathroom vanity...
- Prepare a box in the garage or back hallway closet for items you discover that are taking up valuable space without adding value to your life.
- Discard items that are broken. There is no value if an item is unusable.
Challenge: For the next two weeks, celebrate Clutter Awareness by making the decision to be clutter-free!
Life can be better!
- Better without the clutter
- Better without the distractions
- Better without every nook, cranny, closet, drawer stuff to overflow
- Better without stuff occupying your psyche
Read more: The Value of Giving Your Stuff Away by The Happy Philosopher