How much of the chaos in our homes, do WE create? How do we accomplish “peaceful” when all around us there’s pandemonium? How do we expect to experience calm when our environment is YELLING ‘look at ME’?
Could we do more with less? When you look around your home what’s extraneous? What’s irrelevant to your present life? What reminds you of an unpleasant past? What STUFF burdens you?
How different would your life be if you would CHOOSE to live only with what you love and use? Can you imagine opening your bedroom closet and not being overwhelmed by things that you don’t like, that don’t fit or that just don’t “work?” What if you never again had to search for your car keys, the remote, that perfect recipe, a receipt or those batteries you’re SURE you bought? I could go on and on. Living With Less really CAN change your life. You can CREATE SERENITY in your home.
Over a million people in the US suffer from chronic hoarding, but hoarding is different from the clutter and “stuff” that I’m talking about. People hang onto THINGS for a variety of reasons. Some stem from personal or emotional issues including:
Poverty early in life– the fear of not having enough causes people to hold on to things so that they never experience that scarcity again.
Moving a lot– for some, moving from place to place is an adventure; for others it’s unsettling and creates a nesting instinct, where there’s a desire to “hunker down” and create a place to call “home.”
Being shy or hurt by people– for folks who are shy or have often been hurt by others, cocooning -finding comfort in staying home- is easier than risking rejection by putting themselves outside their comfort zone.
Loss– the absence of a significant person has people holding on to those things that remind him/her of the person who’s gone.
In addition to the more internalized explanations above, we often have too much “stuff” for more simplistic reasons like:
Feeling Overwhelmed– it’s a LOT of work to figure out what to keep and what to throw away, so it becomes easier to simply live with it.
The “what if” clause– “what if we run out of paper towels?”, “what if both of our can openers break and we need this third one?”, “what if I lose 30 pounds and this dress fits again?”, “what if we need these 75 old gift boxes?”
Misguided loyalty– this happens when you stick something in the back of a closet or cabinet because it belonged to someone dearly departed and you don’t know how to be “okay” with getting rid of it, even though you KNOW you’ll never use it.
Regardless of the reason you have a home full of stuff, a new year, right now….2014 is a great time to “wrangle in the crazy” and create an environment that feels more FULL OF PEACE. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I think this is GREAT! With simplicity and organization in our homes, we can begin to create the lifestyle we really want.
I define clutter as anything that is disliked, unused, in excess, broken, obsolete, makes you uncomfortable, or disorganized. My guidelines for stuff are: you either love it (it makes you smile or has a wonderful memory attached to it) or you use it (it has a day-to-day utilitarian purpose).
Clutter doesn’t just suddenly appear. It gets that way over time. It’s the biggest enemy of space. If there’s too much to take in, your personal space has been absorbed causing you to feel PUSHED toward the door. You sense that “this room is too small” and you retreat because it’s overwhelming. Clutter “roots” you in a home, cuts off breathing space, and leaves you little or no room to grow. You have a relationship with your home, just like you do with people. Your home needs you to care.
Most people only use 20% of what they own, 80% of the time (it’s called the Pareto Principle). Make that 20% matter! When you have a lot of possessions, you don’t own them, they “own” you. You move them, store them, clean them, possibly insure them and at points probably trip over them.
It’s really overwhelming for most people to think about doing more with less. The process of tackling a new lifestyle is daunting, and like most things in life, it’s a process. You can’t twitch your nose like in Samantha in Bewitched and “magic” your home into a calm, organized, “less is more” space. It takes effort.
At the end of the day, there’s more to life than taking care of stuff- REALLY important things like relationships, breathing space, joy and peace in your home. Allow yourself to evolve, change and readjust. Live with what you love and use daily. Think of it as a different kind of abundance!