There are many reasons why clutter occurs and most people are guilty of this condition in one degree or another. Whatever be the case, the reasons why we keep things are deeply rooted in our psychological states. Here are some points as to why we do the cluttered things we do.
According to Randy Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College, people feel responsibility towards the things they receive, especially if they have been inherited from a loved one. Getting rid of a present can feel like disrespecting the giver, but it really isn’t. Keep only those items that conjure strong associations with a loved one and never feel guilty about giving away something that you no longer want for any reason.
Proudly display items that you love so that you see them every day and give away to other family members those things that don’t really please you. It not only makes you a nicer and more generous person, but also a soul on the path to clutter-free salvation!
Admitting a mistake
How many times have you bought something that you later seriously regretted and couldn’t take back? You need to say goodbye to those shoes that you can’t walk in and that leisure suit with the lapels that went out of style the year after Valentino died. Give them away. (Look at it this way: by doing this, you are making room for many more mistakes.)
The “ it may be worth something one day syndrome”
If you really believe that something you are hanging onto may be worth some money, take the time to find out exactly what it is worth on today’s marketplace. Visit eBay for similar items and also have the item appraised by an expert, just to be on the safe side. Some local auction houses will do appraisals for free in the hopes that you will sell the item through them later.
Even if you have an item that might be valuable, in order to reclaim its value, it must be in perfect condition. Ephemera and old paper goods such as old baseball cards, for example, in poor condition without their original packaging may not be worth the dust they are gathering in your attic or basement.
The “I might need twelve leprechaun costumes one day” syndrome
People may feel safe by keeping things around, but such thinking leads to overflowing closets and cluttered guest rooms. Consider the “packing for a trip trick” to deal with this problem. Here’s how it works: Pretend you are going away for a month to a magical place where there is both warm and cool weather and where you will need both dressy and casual clothes. Your quota is two big, full suitcases.
Remove all the other clothes from your closet and put them on a rack in your basement or attic. They will be there if you want them, but you will notice as time goes by that you will forget about them. The next step should be a black bag and the thrift store.
My old 78s and 8-track tapes not to mention my mauve sofa, must go to a good home
Many times, people want to find just the right place for their belongings. The problem is that while you are waiting, dust and debris are piling up and making themselves comfortable and very much at home. Consider local shelters for women and other good charities. Donations are often tax-deductible and the charity will come and take the item off your dusty hands.
The “If I put the bills away, I’ll never pay them on time” syndrome
By far the most outrageous of clutter justifications, this is still a viable excuse for those offenders who fear they will forget that which they cannot see. According once again to Professor Randy Frost, “this is a perception of order and not real order. Hard-core clutterers… can and need to train themselves to complete tasks without obvious visual cues.” Automatic e-mail reminders can help with this and if you can’t give up the idea, designate a logical home for every object in the pile.
The “I want to get rid of the clutter but can’t get started” syndrome
This is highly psychological and may concern the idea that if a goal is reached too quickly it is of less value. This can really make it difficult for someone steeped in clutter to get started. One way to fight this, according to Daniel Hommer, M.D., chief of brain imaging at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in Bethesda, Maryland, is to:
“Make projects small and rewards immediate. After you organize a distinct area, dress it up. Add decorative paper to the bottom of a now spartan toiletry drawer, for instance. Keep at it and your home will become not only more orderly but also more beautiful.”
Clutter lingers on the doorstep of every home in the world. Letting it in and making it feel comfortable is the problem. Do you have a cluttering problem?
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