Does it feel like your living space is shrinking around you? Odds are that it isn’t, but clutter can make it feel like it is.
Living with a mess can actually be stressful! It’s widely accepted that living with clutter distracts us and makes it harder to relax. It can also trigger feelings of anxiety, depression or guilt over the state of the space. Then there’s the frustration when something gets lost in a pile!
As we unbundle for the arrival of spring’s warm weather is a great time to tidy up around the house. Clearing your living space can provide a feeling of freedom and accomplishment. So let’s shed those heavy layers and shed some excess stuff sitting around at the same time.
A popular method for decluttering utilizes the “year rule”. If you haven’t used or worn something in a year, it’s time to let it go. This can be useful for some items, like your day to day wardrobe, but doesn’t necessarily work for all categories and situations. A popular suggestion for your closet is to turn every hanger backwards, then place them facing the opposite way when you wear the item on it; at the end of a year, anything that hasn’t turned hasn’t been worn and can be eliminated. For those of us who wear dress clothes only rarely, this may not be the best course of action, but it can help us be more mindful of what we do and don’t wear.
Re-evaluating your space can be helpful for many items. Use space in an attic, garage or basement to store seasonal items that may be taking up valuable real estate in your living area. Store clothing in plastic boxes and carefully pack away those Easter egg shaped dessert plates for next year! There’s no need to keep them out year round.
Have you heard of Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing? She is an organizing consultant in Japan who boasts a nearly zero percent clutter rebound rate. Her methods are more spiritual than most, and include thanking your belongings for serving you and releasing items that no longer bring you joy. Don’t get scared off though! Even if this seems outrageous to you, you may find something of value in her methods.
Firstly, Kondo recommends tackling an organizing job by category rather than by room. This allows you to cast a wide net and really consider everything you have in a given category, even if these items reside all around the house. Now, you may laugh when you think about holding items you own and determining if they bring you joy. Do your socks and underwear bring you joy? Likely not, however this gives you an opportunity to stop and think; do you have spare pairs of each that you’d never reach for except in an emergency? If so, maybe it’s time to let them go. There’s a difference between keeping special items for a rainy day and hording things you don’t really like for no real reason. Sock and underwear may be a silly example, but the same holds true for item all around your house.
Once you’ve done your sorting, what next? Consider donating gently used clothing to a charity (many houses of worship have donation boxes in the parking lots), and keep an eye out for thrift stores that accept donations, or veterans groups that send trucks around your neighborhood to collect donations. The beauty of the internet is that you can use it to find anything. A simple Google search with your town name and the words “donate” and what you’re looking to get rid of will likely turn up a number of options for you.
Before the weather gets too nice and you can’t stand staying inside, consider using some decluttering tricks to relieve mess stress and get yourself and your living space in order. You never know what you’ll find while you’re sorting through your belongings!
Frank Failla is a Long Island realtor serving much of Long Island. To learn more about Frank or exciting Long Island properties, visit online at frankfaillahomesli.com.