Do you suffer from Hyper-Abundance? Take a quick quiz and find out:
The exterior of your home refrigerator is A) bare, completely blank; B) completely covered in magnets, photos, postcards, memos, schedules and mini works of art.
If you answered B, your home might be overstuffed with clutter. In their book, Life at Home, UCLA archaeologists Jeanne Arnold and Anthony P. Graesch studied 32 middle income families and discovered “the refrigerator panel may function as a measuring stick for how intensively families are participating in consumer purchasing and how many household goods they retain over their lifetimes.”
Arnold and Graesch further determined that there is a definite link between an over-abundance of household objects causing stress for women. In fact, a woman’s long-term well-being can be negatively impacted by too much clutter. Interestingly enough, men are not affected by clutter.
The average American house size has more than doubled since 1950; it now stands at 2,349 square feet. Yet the homes are not large enough as 9.5% of all American households currently rent self-storage units. Yet there is a cure and it is less painful than most think. Clutter Awareness Week starts March 28, 2016 providing us all with the perfect opportunity to declutter and de-stress.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Blessing or Burden – do the items around you make you happy or serve a consistent purpose? It is helpful to remember that things you no longer use or want may be very desirable to someone else, making recycling much easier.
2) Clean up – look around and see what is out of place. Items that do not have a place can go into a donation box.
3) Find the flats – flat surfaces attract papers and are easy landing places for items. Clear off the flats and put things away. If there is no place for an item, recycle it.
4) Slow sorting is the enemy – initial instincts are key, as Marie Kondo explains, “learn to let go the things that do not spark joy.” Set a 15 minute time limit and sort items out into three categories: bring you joy, serve a purpose or free to a good home.
5) Family affair – Turn up the tunes and get your entire family involved in decluttering one room at a time together. Gamification people, the family member that fills their donation bag the fastest gets 30 minutes of peace and quiet in an empty, clean house.
6) Collection box – Set up a collection box next to your back door and toss in items as you notice them and keep your cycle of cleaning going.
No matter the method you choose, just keep cleaning and clearing. Steve Howard, IKEA Head of Sustainability had this to say on stuff, “If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.” Remember, as you remove items from your closets, cabinets and cupboards, you make room for something more important, peace.