How to Reclaim Your Life from Clutter

istock000005553756largesmallFor years my family and I have traveled to Vermont to work at our camp.  We leave behind the large NJ home and live in a 1100 square foot cottage with our two kids and our dog.

Our strategy for packing is straightforward:  Minimal clothing, furnishings, and stuff.  Everything fits in the back of our car (mind you, our house in VT is modestly furnished already).  The move is always very easy.

Every time we stay in Vermont, we fall in love with the simplicity of life there.  We don’t miss the stuff back home — clutter accumulated over years — leaving it all behind has been liberating.  Every time we come back to NJ we declutter just a bit more.  I am about to get rid of a big stuffed horse that whinnies, for freak’s sake!  We are getting there…slowly.

As a nation we are overwhelmed with “stuff” and drowning in clutter.  In many cases, it is overwhelming.  For some time, I did not have the ability to deal rationally with what I owned.  I kept things left and right for no reason whatsoever.

I doesn’t need to be that way.  It shouldn’t be that way.

My wife and I are on a journey to ensure that our home(s) are a metaphor for our life.  Our homes represent what we are and what we value.  After all, why should we have anything in our home that is not beautiful or functional?  With kids this can seem almost impossible, but take away the toys and the school papers and we are getting closer every day.

Not only do most of Americans’ homes have more things in them that we could possibly use, storage facilities are also a billion dollar industry!  Many people I know are searching for larger homes just to house their stuff.  It is truly out of control.

Our homes should be the place where we live simply, relax, and create.  How can we do these things if we feel like we are buried under a mess of stuff?

I have found myself in my home or my office feeling suffocated.  In the past, the massive piles of paper on my desk have literally done the following:

  • Given me a headache
  • Caused me to lose sleep thinking about “the pile”
  • Made me moody
  • Caused me to lose motivation
  • Made me extremely tired

Some other good reasons for us to address clutter:

  1. Clutter takes up head space.  We are liable to forget our priorities.  Do we really need the pile of old magazines?  How about the boxes of trinkets in our basement or garage?
  2. Our personal relationships suffer.  Have you ever decided to not have guests over because you were embarrassed at the state of your home?  I know that my wife is way more cognizant of cleanliness that I am.  Imagine not arguing about clutter and cleaning?
  3. Clutter drains our finances.  Yes, we already paid a lot of money for it, so call it “stupid tax” when you get rid of it.  We are paying to store it, insure it, etc.  So donate it, sell it, or give it away.
  4. Clutter invades our personal space.  Try decluttering one area just for yourself and you will see what I mean.  A clear, open space gives us piece of mind.
  5. Clutter prevents us from being in the present.  Think of all the things you keep because you “might need them someday”.  Holding on to the past prevents us from living in the “now”.

It’s Spring, so there is no better time than now to start reclaiming your life from clutter.  Imagine your ideal space in your home.  Start with one small room.  Can you visualize what your room looks like without clutter?  Start creating the atmosphere you want to live in, one trinket at a time.

I remember being around clutter for so long I barely even saw it.  Humble yourself by bringing someone you are close to into your home to help see what is really there.  However, no one can fix the mess except us, ultimately.

Start decluttering today.  Reclaim your life.

Or you can go look for a bigger house, instead…your choice.



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