Hoarding shows focus on extreme, nearly unlivable amounts of clutter, but let’s face it; most of us have more material possessions than we need. Are you hoarding or hanging onto stuff you don’t use? Staying clean and organized is much harder when every space is packed with stuff, but if that stuff isn’t necessary or useful, then it’s just clutter. Enjoying more storage and less stress could be as simple as getting rid of it.
Of course, freeing up space is easier said than done, especially if you’ve been accumulating and collecting clutter for a long time. Instead of fixating on the task ahead, think about the extra room you’ll enjoy and the relief you’ll feel at the end of the process. Here are some simple steps you can take to start – and actually enjoy – the act of decluttering your home:
1. Think Hard About Hoarding and Your Habits
Are you out of space in every room? Are you used to the fact that you can’t use certain closets, rooms, or surfaces? Hoarding is a scary word, but it’s a habit that forms gradually, and awareness is the best antidote. Before things get worse, stop and evaluate the condition of your home. If you can’t access certain spaces or store anything else in your home, now is a good time to start chipping away at the problem instead of letting it get any worse.
2. Take it One Space at a Time
Clutter doesn’t form overnight, so don’t worry about cleaning it up overnight, either. Start with a small pile or space, and go slowly at first, allowing yourself to appreciate the satisfaction and stress relief of creating more space and accomplishing a task. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year, whether that means throwing it away, recycling it, or putting it in a donation box. In fact, every time you leave a room or walk past something you don’t use anymore, take the opportunity to recycle or throw something else away. As you begin to whittle away at that first pile, stack, or room full of clutter, decluttering should become part of your everyday routine, giving you small bursts of stress relief throughout the day.
3. Celebrate the Space You Regain
After you clear out a whole closet or room, give yourself a break! It’s time to celebrate. Sit down and allow yourself to enjoy the clarity that comes with a new space to use. You may feel some loss, stress, or fear about giving or throwing away certain possessions, so it’s important to give yourself time and embrace every opportunity to relieve stress too. Let the effects of your first big task sink in, so that you can think about them when it’s time to face the next one.
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