8 reasons clutter is preventing your happinessOne of the great lessons of my adulthood is realizing that outer order contributes to inner calm — far more than you might expect. Yet as much as you want to stay organized, it's tough. You may blame the sheer tediousness of trying to keep clutter at bay, but I think we often buy into certain notions about decluttering that make it harder to maintain order. Read on to discover 8 myths that will keep you stuck with too much stuff — plus easy ways to conquer clutter and find happiness.
Myth 1: You need to be organized
No! When you're facing a desk swamped with papers or a closet bursting with clothes, don't say to yourself, I need to get organized. Your first step should be to get rid of stuff. If you don't keep it, you don't have to organize it.
Myth 2: You need to be super-organized
Though it helps to have "a place for everything," even that well-worn saying can sabotage your decluttering efforts. If you spend a lot of time alphabetizing your spices or creating 80 categories for your files, that's time and effort that could be better spent tackling the garage or the buildup on your entryway table.
Myth 3: Cute storage containers are the answer
Rather than buying a slew, get rid of stuff first (see Myth 1). Then you'll only have to buy the exact number of boxes or bins you need. (Bonus: money saved.) The danger of these appealing containers is that they can become a source of clutter, too.
Myth 4: Don't toss it, give it a home
Sure, it's easier to get rid of things when you're giving them to someone who can use them, but don't let your thoughtful intentions trip you up. I know someone who has multiple piles all over her house, each lovingly destined for a particular recipient. If you really want to give away your stuff, create a system for moving it along. Keep a bag of giveaways for friends—if an item is still there two weeks later, off it goes to charity.
Myth 5: Hold on to that gizmo; you just need to fix it
If you've had a busted lamp for more than six months and it's still not repaired, it's clutter. Ditto for that gelato maker you've never figured out how to use. If you've had it for a year or more, let it go.
Myth 6: Keep your skinny clothes for when you slim down
When you lose a bunch of weight, you'll want new clothes, not outfits you bought five years ago. It may feel frugal to hang on to those size 8's, but if it's going to be a while before you wear them again, give them to someone who can use them now.
Myth 7: Save precious objects
I'm a huge believer in mementos (remembering happy times gives you a big happiness boost). But do you need all those T-shirts to remind you of college, or just one or two? Mementos work best when they're carefully chosen—and when they don't take up a lot of room!
Myth 8: If you think you might need it, keep it
If you haven't used that giant vase in the last year, you probably won't need it anytime soon. Either let it go or loan it to a friend who won't mind if you borrow it back next summer, when you actually need it for a centerpiece.
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