A business associate emailed me this week because he was completely exhausted. His wife had decided that the month of August would be clean-up time, since the kids would be headed back to school , routines and crazy schedules would be starting, and frankly, they were falling over their junk.
Three kids, a dog and two parents have a lot of ‘stuff.’ Cram this into a house with even 4 bedrooms and it’s a recipe for elevated blood pressure and illness if not carefully managed.
We’ve all seen the shows- the hoarding episodes that show what happens when even just a few years of holding on to books, toys, clothes, papers, documents, trinkets and heaven knows what else starts to pile up.
But what about those of us who aren’t hoarders- we just have a lot of stuff and not a lot of free space in our homes? You don’t have to be a clinically diagnosed hoarder to suffer from the effects of lack of ‘spring cleaning.’
A few months back, I wrote a piece on how a clean home is a healthy home. It’s true. The focus of that piece was tidying up clutter and disinfecting surfaces, among other things.
However, my business friend made a good point when he was talking about the clean-up process. He was totally worn out after only three days, and they had 4 more to go on their week long cleaning spree. He said they got two kid rooms completed and had 1 more to go, plus the master bedroom.
He counted 6 large tubs for recycling, 3 trash bags and 5 lawn-size bags for Goodwill of clothes, toys, and other belongings that were in great shape, but no one was using any of it. Outgrown clothing piles up quickly with growing children, and toys are the same way.
He commented how his son’s room had kind of a gooey, cheese odor before and now is like a brand new room. I am sure some of you can identify with that. Imagine how much better his son will be sleeping in a tidy, peaceful space now as opposed to feeling like his walls were closing in on him.
Garage or tag sales are good ways to empty out the closets, basement closets and toy boxes as well. This solves a financial issue, too, since getting rid of clothing, especially kids’ clothing is pretty lucrative.
What are some other reasons you will want to put your closets, nooks and crannies on a diet?
- prevents us from being hoarders
- ensures that we will be able to find belongings that we wish to keep
- discourages pest activity
- reinforces a life of simple abundance
- frees up items that can be donated or sold
- provides a strenuous and healthy workout
- eases anxiety by imparting a feeling of weight being lifted and more freedom
- improved chances of more restful sleep since the environment around us is cleaner, tidier, and probably smells better
I don’t recommend launching into a project like this without a plan, though. It can be overwhelming and actually make more anxiety if you don’t pace yourself and try to be realistic.
Think about some of the real goals you would like to achieve with freeing up space. Maybe the kids are moving out and need that extra set of dishes you’ve had stuck in the back of a cupboard for 20 years.
Maybe you need to replace the carpet and you have no where to put the stuff you are moving out of that room…because all your rooms are too full.
Or maybe you are just paring back to enjoy the simple abundance that is living without the constraints of worldly treasures, which are actually more like chains.
Whatever your reason, the results will be the same. You’ll feel better, freer, cleaner, and more in control of your surroundings instead of your surroundings controlling you.