Do you know what the real problem is with getting and staying organized? We have too much stuff!
I am obsessed with organization, and I love purging. I find it so refreshing to eliminate unnecessary items and create space…and NOT FILL IT BACK UP.
Let’s just start with some harsh statistics about our STUFF copied directly from becomingminimalist.com.
- There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
- The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
- 1 out of every 10 Americans rents offsite storage—the fastest-growing commercial real estate industry segment over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
- The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. (SSA).
- While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them, and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
- US consumers spent over 38 billion on toys in 2021. (oberly.com)
Americans especially have an impulse buying problem: we buy stuff we don’t need (usually to fill a void within us) for instant gratification. We also have a problem with letting things go. Have you ever tried to get a child to donate a toy they haven’t played with within a year? It suddenly becomes their favorite toy in the whole world. Adults can be the same way.
I’m willing to bet you have some things you (or someone you live with) keep without having a good enough reason.
It’s been scientifically proven that a cluttered home creates a cluttered mind…aka anxiety, stress, unhappiness. It can be stressful seeing our closets, cabinets, and drawers bursting at the seams. It often creates a heavy feeling in our homes.
So why DO we keep so much stuff?
The thing is, it’s easier to find excuses for why you should keep something and delay making a decision rather than making a firm (and sometimes difficult) choice to say goodbye to your “stuff.”
Here are my favorite excuses.
1. “I might need it someday.”
Yes, you might. But the thing is, most of the items we keep can easily be found or replaced within a day or two. Many men keep every screw and nail and store it away like a squirrel with his nuts. Or those of us that keep every manual for every appliance and piece of technology we’ve ever owned…and maybe no longer use.
What happens is these little tiny items create more and more clutter, and it gets to a point where you can’t find that tiny screw anyway because it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. But, of course, nowadays, all of our manuals are easily accessible online.
2. “I’m going to lose some weight and start wearing this again.”
I hope if you have a goal to lose some weight, you do everything in your power to make it happen. And when you do, I give you permission to go out and find a sale and buy some brand new clothes to show off the new you. You should be proud, and it’s the perfect time to reward yourself. Unless you are actively losing weight right now and there is one particular dress you want to fit in again, just get rid of any clothes that don’t fit. Trust me, once the weight starts coming off, you will be buying new clothes anyway because of your new-found confidence. If you haven’t worn an item in a year or more, it might be time for a purge.
3. “So-and-So Gave Me This.”
I’m all for keeping memories and items that remind us of people we love.
But the truth is, memories are not in the clutter, the knick-knacks and “stuff” you have shoved in a decorative box, attic, garage, or storage unit.
I won’t say to get rid of everything, and it’s not always an easy decision. But try and just keep the special things you cherish. Keeping every beautiful picture our children create or every greeting card we have received is unrealistic. If we have the privilege to grow old, that’s a lot of stuff to accumulate.
For the special items that are worth keeping, use them. Get them out in the open, on display – where you can enjoy them and have a story to tell when someone comments or asks a question about the item.
4. I paid good money for this…”thing!”
I’m sure you did. But the thing is, what has more value…this “item” you no longer have any use for taking up valuable space in your home or your happiness? The item… or less stress?
Quite frankly, we pay good money for anything these days, and we can’t keep everything AND remain calm, sane, and happy. If you aren’t using it and haven’t used it in a long time, you probably won’t. Sell it if you can but get rid of it.
5. Oh, I’m just trying to figure out what to do with it…
Okay, so maybe it’s not worth holding onto. This is typically the laziest of the excuses. According to The Home Edit ladies, if it’s a maybe, it’s really a no.
See, if it takes that much mental work to figure out what to do with something, you can take a pretty good guess that it may not be worth as much to you as you think.
If you can’t figure out what to do with something…it’s a safe bet you won’t miss it too much.
6. It will be worth money one day
I understand 100% what it feels like to collect something. I personally collect rare Barbies, and my mom had a vast Coca-Cola collection. With this point, I defer back to the same as #3: If you don’t have room to display your fantastic collection and enjoy something worth money, why not sell it and maybe enjoy a wonderful experience or excursion you’ve wanted to do for so long. Or update the kitchen. Storing unused collectibles only takes up valuable space AND/OR costs additional money to keep in a facility.
There is a lot more value in enjoying your home, friends, and family than the “stuff.” So if you aren’t using it, or if it’s not bringing you joy, or it isn’t actively generating money…do you really need it?
I am Jen,
As a dedicated life coach specializing in co-parenting, divorce, and single motherhood, I bring a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience to my coaching practice. I am deeply committed to helping women not only survive divorce but also thrive as they transition into their roles as single mothers. I provide tailored coaching to assist my clients in developing effective co-parenting strategies, fostering healthy communication, and creating nurturing environments for their children.
I am also the author of the best-selling book “I am Amazing: From Invisible to Invincible”. My self-help memoir offers hope and inspiration for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and their struggles with mental health. With raw honesty and vulnerability, I provide an intimate look at my journey from victim to victorious.