emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

Make Room for the New When Your Space Is Full of the Past

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The average person has at least twenty-three items without a purpose or use, and that’s not even counting sentimental keepsakes. Whether you’re a procrastinator, a collector by nature, or shutdown at the overwhelming prospect of decluttering, it’s important to understand that research has linked clutter to a number of negative effects, including stress, anxiety, depression, and diminished concentration. 

Live for Your Future, Not Your Past 

You’ve accumulated this clutter over years, though. Some of it is cherished in connection to a memory. It can be a temporary stressor just to imagine getting rid of all the old items, especially those that are beloved, to make room for the new. Save yourself some trouble and rent a London self storage to keep your beloved treasures.

The most important thing you can realize is that living in the clutter from the past stifles your now and your future. It inevitably limits the connections you make, your ability to bring useful things into your life, and the creativity that comes from leaving room for the possibilities. 

While you may feel stressed in the process of letting go, you will be surprised at how free you feel once the job is done. How do you start? How do you sort? What if you just can’t part with certain items? 

How to Remove Accumulation From Your Living Space 

  1. Dedicate a Destination for Your Items

Have dedicated destinations for everything. Where will your items go? Shelter in place items stay and just go back to their location, but you’ll need bins set up and labeled for other destinations: 

  • A bin for the Littleton storage unit items you just don’t want to part with that can be taken over to the storage unit when done sorting 
  • A donation bin for items you’re bringing to charity 
  • A consignment bin for items you’re going to sell 
  • A trash bin for the discard items 
  1. Get the Right Mindset

You will need to have the right mindset. Here’s are some tips: 

  • Eliminate procrastination by blocking off specific times on your calendar 
  • Keep it positive by dedicating those blocks to “making room for the new” verses “decluttering” 
  • Set big picture goals by making a list of all the things clutter is holding you back from or negatively causing in your life 
  • Set mini-goals within the time block to keep from getting overwhelmed 
  • Think in terms of condensing versus eliminating. Do you really need every single thing your child made at preschool, or can you condense that collection into a collage of highlights 
  • Think about ways to repurpose items 
  • Research the impact of donations to see how someone else could truly need and use that which just takes up room in your life 
  1. Start the Process

You have the right mindset and a clear destination path for all your items. Now, it’s time to sort. Here are some tips: 

  • Go by category, not room. Assign each block of time a specific entity: glassware, dishes, books, linens, tools, etc. This helps identify duplicates and volume 
  • Allow logic, not emotion, to guide you. With each item you pick up, ask yourself, “Do I use it? Do I value it for a function it provides? Does it bring me joy and compliment my life?” If the answer is no, immediately choose a destination bin to place the item 
  • For closets, it can be helpful to see what you really use each season. Turn each shoe, hanger, and folded item in the same direction. As you wear it and return it, face the item in the opposite direction. At the end of each season, you’ll see what hasn’t been worn and can be purged 
  • The bin and use method is great for everyday use items like beauty supplies and kitchen utensils. Place all the items within the category in an intermediary bin. As you use an item from the bin, place it back in its permanent location. At the end of the month, unused items are identified and purged 
  • After each time block, immediately close up the bins and deliver them to their destination to avoid second-guessing and doubt from creeping in, which stifles the newfound freedom you’d otherwise experience in letting the items go 
  • If you need encouragement, open all your doors, drawers, and stuffing crannies. Allow yourself to visualize the mass of what’s out of sight out of mind. Remember, it took time to create and will take time to resolve, but that resolution is very possible one time block at a time. It’s also encouraging to see the difference one completed area is against the remaining areas 

You’ll want to ensure that your decluttering efforts evolve into a lifestyle change. Don’t reinsert more clutter just because you suddenly have all this extra living space. Consider outside storage solutions for the new items that are seasonal or occasional use. Make each addition meaningful. Keep your home full of loved items that add value and purpose to your life every single day, not just on occasion. 

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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