People talk about decluttering a lot. There are articles about it in magazines, there are blogs devoted to it, and the most extreme cases of it are fodder for reality TV. But if you’ve never gotten into decluttering yourself, you might question what the point of it all is. Here are 7 compelling reasons why you should start decluttering right now.
1. Decluttering Gives You More Space
Space to think, to work, or to dance around the living room. Sometimes clutter can physically obstruct your path in a hazardous or irritating way. But at other times, the problem is mental. If you work from home, for example, you have to stay disciplined in order to not become distracted. This is hard enough, but it would be a hundred times harder if you had to look at big pile of stuff all day. You’d be worried about cleaning it up, or feeling bad that you hadn’t, essentially taking away time from the work you should be doing.
2. Decluttering Forces You to Decide What's Actually Important to You
When you have to be selective about the objects you keep around you, you necessarily have to choose them more carefully. This tends to bleed over into other areas of life. Why waste time seeing a movie you don’t want to see, or reading a book you’re not interested in, or talking for hours to someone who bores you?
3. Decluttering Shapes Your Tastes
If you hold on to every material thing you’ve ever had, you probably think you still like or need them all. But that’s unlikely. In reality, decluttering helps you to see what you actually prefer in your clothing, décor, hobbies–even food. Think about it: a cluttered closet or living room can hold a bit of everything, leaving you with an undefined bunch of things you were drawn to at one time or another. But a pared-down, carefully considered wardrobe or home makes you choose the items you love the most. It’s how you learn that you love bright patterns or look best in neutral colors or prefer suede to silk. Once you understand these things about yourself, you can be more decisive and waste no time when selecting what you like in the future.
4. Decluttering Saves You Money
Obviously, the less you buy, the less you spend. But even if you’re accumulating all your stuff at no cost (say, by accepting everything you see on FreeCycle) it can be expensive to get rid of stuff too. The cost of something is not just the sticker price, but the price of being stuck with it (Does it need upkeep? Does it require hired help to transport if you move?).
5. Decluttering Could Make You Money
You can make money decluttering your closet. By selling or consigning old clothing or household items, you could make back a small part of the investment you put into them.
Also, chances are if you're selling your home, decluttering will make you more money. A cluttered home is much harder to sell.
6. Decluttering Makes Cleaning Easier
Having a clean home is a good thing, but getting it clean is (literally) a chore. The less clutter you have around you, the less time you have to spend cleaning! Think about dusting a shelf full of Precious Moments, versus spending that time doing anything else.
7. Decluttering Gives You Freedom
If you want to move to another apartment, city or country, clutter can really hold you back. The more stuff you own, and the more emotionally tied to it that you are, the greater the logistical difficulties and expenses will be when you relocate. The romantic images that we associate with nomadic peoples and Depression-era hobos doesn’t have to do with food shortages or the dangers of hopping into moving train cars. It’s all about their ability to quickly pack up and head out for somewhere else–hopefully, somewhere better.
But even if you’re never going to move house again, owning less stuff makes it so much less of a hassle to redecorate or rearrange the rooms you’ve settled in. Want to move an armchair to the other side of the room for a fresh look? Easy…unless the other side of the room is covered with your gnome collection and the armchair is draped in all the clothes that won’t fit in your closet.