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Make Time to Make Space

Leave the old mess in the old year!

By Judey Kalchik Published 2 years ago 4 min read

This year I left three whole boxes of home decorating flair un-displayed and unopened. It's part of my devious plan for the last week of December. Less stuff on display means less stuff to repack.

While I reflected on my groundbreaking discovery and forethought, I realized that I was closer than ever before to a breakthrough on my non-holiday way of life.

Why not extend that 'less is less' to my home all year 'round? What would be the benefits of purging, say, 20% of my stuff? And if not actually disposing/recycling/donating it at least I could put it away in a place that I wouldn't smack into it every time I entered a room or opened a closet.

What, if any, advantages would I find in clearing out the clutter and making room for me?

As I usually do before fits of extreme physical action such as tearing apart everything in the house and deciding what should be done with it, I did some research first. To my surprise there actually are benefits to living with less clutter, and a person doesn't have to commit to extreme minimalism in order to reap those rewards.

5 Benefits of Dunking the Junk

There are physical, mental, and financial benefits to decluttering. Here are five of the benefits most important to me.

  1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Research shows that having items out of place, in piles, obstructing pathways, or just hard to find increases the body's production of cortisol, the stress hormone that produces anxiety and depression.
  2. Reduces Allergens: I don't have indoor pets but I do have long hair! When dust bunnies combine with long hair they create a perfect breeding ground for dust mites. Most people are allergic to the dust mite excrement. (Pro Tip: when vacuuming and dusting, include the vents of your dryer and room hot/cold air returns. Change your furnace/air filters, too. Dust within the heating/cooling system in your home can lead to reduce ventilation. ventilation is extremely important as we continue to battle Covid-19 and its variants!)
  3. Boosts Creativity: Once you notice something is wrong your brain goes back to it again and again until the issue is resolved. That reduces your focus on other things, especially work and hobbies. Decluttering wipes the slate clean and allows you to concentrate on the work (or fun!) at hand without distracting and nagging thoughts.
  4. Saves Money and Reveals Lost Treasures: According to home guru Bob Villa, every home needs a hammer. In fact, her suggests three different kinds of hammers (claw, ballpeen, and club) for different uses. My guess is that we have at least 20 hammers on the property. Some were inherited, but most bought when needed for a project RIGHT AWAY and the ones we already owned couldn't be found. I have craft scissors purchased for that reason, too, among other tools. Decluttering, and placing everything IN its place, reveals the items you already own. It also saves you money since you won't need to buy it, and EARNS you money should you decide to sell the extra 20+ hammers (or whatever) your cleaning reveals!
  5. It Generates Forward Motion: this is why I believe decluttering and simplifying needs to happen this time of year, right when people habitually make resolutions! Decluttering gets momentum going and gives you a sense of accomplishment at completing a task, a room, a drawer, a closet: whatever you've done to beat back the wilderness threatening to encroach upon your living space! Use that healthy pride at completing the task as a springboard to the other habits and behaviors you want to tackle!

A Bonus Benefit: TIME!

Call it decluttering, cleaning, puttering, thinning the excess' whatever you call it you will be surprised at what you gain AFTER it is done. That's right: you get TIME!

  • You gain time because you spend less of it cleaning and moving piles from one place to another.
  • You gain time because you spend less time looking for stuff that you put 'in a safe place' that you are SURE you will remember. (You will not remember.)
  • What will you do with that time? Why not spend it on self-care and passion projects?! Now you DO have the time for the exercise, the book you will write, the class you need, the hobby you wanted to pursue.

In conclusion

There are health, wealth, and mental clarity benefits to decluttering and simplifying. This year, when you take down the decorations from the holiday go through those items you left in their boxes. Decide what you need to keep and what can be donated or sold to bring someone else joy.

Then start in the next-almost-perfect room and declutter there for a quick boost of confidence before you move on. Then apply the forward momentum to the rest of your resolutions and enjoy your new year!


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About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

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  • C. H. Richard2 years ago

    So glad I was able to read this story. I have been working on decluttering our house for the last year. Just gave me more motivation. Well done ❤️

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