It’s taken some time for me to realize there is a connection between how much stuff we have in our home and our mental health.
This is how it usually works. Over time, we accumulate stuff. Most of us are guilty of this, especially when we’ve been rooted for a while. If we aren’t careful, the things we own will eventually take over every empty space we have. That’s why we need to be intentional about uncluttering and removing the unnecessary possessions choking our lives.
Our family is working on this. It’s not easy, for some reason. I think we are conditioned all our lives to be consumers, to buy things, collect things, and find more space to store those things. I’m not against having nice things, but if the things we own aren’t serving a purpose, then I’m not sure why we are giving it space.
Here are 5 things to downsize that will have an immediate impact on the space in your home.
I struggled with this one. Big time.
I love books and I am guilty of keeping almost every one I’ve ever read. Even if I didn’t like it I’d give it a space on my already cluttered shelves. I used to dream of a home with shelves on every wall crammed full of books! A live-in library.
But there’s not really a good reason to hold on to those books. What value do they bring? It was cathartic to go through them all and judiciously downsize. I would say we pulled about 90 percent of our books off the shelves. It hurt, but we did it, and our lives are better for it.
I swear our clothes multiply. The more we give away the more I find in my drawers and closet.
Less clothing equals less laundry to wash, more space and fewer decisions we have to make about what to wear each day. And all those years of telling myself I’ll wear that shirt again or squeeze into those jeans one more time someday has only proven one thing…it ain’t ever gonna happen.
Our kids were drowning. Too many toys gave them too many options, too much to keep clean and too much frustration (legos everywhere…hello!) So we stopped buying toys and we packed up the majority of the forgotten ones and donated them.
With fewer toys, the kids actually play with what they have. And it’s easier for them to clean their room. Oh we still buy a few toys at Christmas (we’re not monsters), but we are much more intentional about giving memorable gifts that inspire or promote adventure rather than just filler stuff that might be cool for a moment but quickly grows stale.
I’m one of those parents who feels like I’ve got to save everything my kids make, wore as a baby or played with. It’s a sickness. What is this rooted in, anyway? Does it really mean I’m a terrible parent if I throw the artwork away after a couple weeks? What about the baby shoes they wore when they took their first step?
Okay, maybe we can make some exceptions. But this is an area that needs to be purged ruthlessly. I’m serious. I’ve learned that my kids don’t really care about all that stuff when they get older anyway. Pick a few things to treasure, stick them in a chest and toss the rest. Then move on with your life.
Our kitchen towel drawer runs over when everything has been washed. How many kitchen towels does one home need to own? Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have a kitchen towel drawer that won’t ever close all the way because it’s jammed full. Let’s thin this drawer out together. What are we afraid of anyway?
The older I get, the more I understand why we are placed on this earth. Believe me, it’s not to accumulate more things. Instead, I want to be the kind of person that makes space and for the people in my life. I want to allow more room for each moment. If I’m giving the best parts of my life to the things I own, then I’m getting it wrong.
Try me on this. The next time you walk into a cluttered room, stop and take the temperature on your mental state. If there is even a hint of dissatisfaction take action. Take small steps, but don’t ignore what your gut tells you. Anything that steals our peace isn’t worth holding on to.