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Peace Through Reduced Clutter

Some people have a talent for minimalism. They buy what they need, use what they buy, and dispose of what they don’t use. Unfortunately, we’re not “some” people.

Don’t get me wrong — we’re not packrats. We shop only sales and look for items at yard and garage sales, but we’ve finally passed a point where we comfortably fit in our modest two-bedroom abode.

For that reason we’re looking around at what’s on the market. In fact, we were out with our wonderful (I mean that!) realtor just this morning and had a chance to view four different properties. Even though we didn’t find anything that knocked our socks off, we still discussed what steps we should take to prepare our place for showing to potential buyers. I expected our realtor to walk around and point out dings in the paint and other small details, but her only advice was this: de-clutter.

This is a great idea because not only will the space seem bigger with less “stuff,” but the space will also seem more adequate. By that I mean that we want prospective buyers to see things in their proper places and say to themselves, “This family has a reasonable amount of stuff, and there’s more than enough room for it all.”

Frankly, I’m pretty excited that our realtor told us to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. If we were able to move every six months, we’d really pare down the amount of stuff we have to just the basic things that we really like and use. Once we complete this de-cluttering exercise, our place will be much nicer for us to live in (not to mention show to buyers).

We’ve already put away some of our children’s toys because they all get pulled out everyday, and I’m tired of picking them up over and over. On the one hand I don’t want to deprive them of learning opportunities that might arise from playing with some of their toys, but the clutter is driving me crazy!

It’s not just kids’ toys though; among other things we’ve also got some magazines lying around from past months. Some people swear they’ll go to the gym — we swear that someday we really will read that magazine from last year, so it would be a shame to throw it out . . .

Until (or unless) we have another child, we could last for several more years where we currently are. The most immediate problem is that we’ve very effectively filled every nook and cranny. Occasionally we think about getting a storage unit (and we’ll probably have to if we decide to sell) but do we really want to pay an extra $70-100 per month because we just have too much stuff?

I’ve begun bringing home boxes from work and we’ll soon set about reducing the amount of our belongings that are stored in our place. We have many more children’s books than are used on any given day and plenty of off-season clothing. That’s a good thing, too, because somehow we’ve got to make the backs of the closets visible.

As we prepare boxes for storage, we’ll be taking a very critical look at each item and deciding whether or not it’s really worth keeping. My feeling is that we have quite a bit of “dead wood” that can be donated to a local thrift store and reduce the amount of stuff that ends up in storage.

Reducing my claustrophobia and stress will be a nice fringe benefit of getting our place ready to sell. Who knows — maybe we’ll de-clutter and realize we’ve got more room than we really need!

Question(s) of the day:

Do you find that clutter at home really bothers you, or is it a comfortable use of space?

9 comments to Peace Through Reduced Clutter

  • Man what a great question you pose. Clutter at home REALLY bothers me. I used to have tons of knick knacks in a former home where I used every conceivable spot I found for a collectible. We moved to a new house 5 years ago and turned a 180. I banned all unnecessary items in the house and make heavy use of the classifieds online and offline. I’m much happier now! I value my space quite highly, more so than lots of stuff that attempt to occupy it.

  • SVB,

    I’m impressed and can only say that I hope to achieve the same someday. Out of curiosity, how do/did you draw a distinction between what is necessary and what isn’t?

  • [...] Andy presents Peace Through Reduced Clutter posted at ThoughtfulConsideration.com – Get Your Think On, saying, “Some say that cleanliness is next to godliness. Whether you believe that or not, reducing clutter is a sure-fire way to feel more at peace.” [...]

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  • Found my way here via the carnival – you have a nice site!

    To answer your question – clutter bothers me. However, I’m a bit biased as hoarding/cluttering runs in the family and there are a few family members who live in homes where there are literally no open horizontal spaces.

    I went the OTHER way and when I was able to live in a place with enough space, I was constantly clearing away things. That was a bit much! I think life should be balanced. Now I have areas that I allow clutter: the work table, the project shelf, that kind of thing. Sometimes you need to be able to leave things in “state” so you can get back to it.

    I’ve heard that your environment mirrors your emotions and mental landscape and can affect your emotional/mental state as well. I find open spaces very relaxing. Based on my own experiences as well as hearing others’ stories, people with very cluttered (as in chronic) homes tend to be stressed out and worried.

    Here are some resources for those who wonder if they have a hoarder-cluttering problem:


  • [...] Andy presents Peace Through Reduced Clutter posted at ThoughtfulConsideration.com – Get Your Think On, saying, “It’s not just in the way, it’s actually bringing you down.” [...]

  • Ms. Q.,

    Thanks for the great points – I love hearing about other peoples’ personal experience.

    The surveys (that you included links to) were very interesting! I think they go a little beyond our clutter problems, but I might e-mail them to my wife as a joke (to see her reaction)!

  • [...] Andy presents Peace Through Reduced Clutter posted at ThoughtfulConsideration.com – Get Your Think On, saying, “Some say that cleanliness is next to godliness. Whether you believe that or not, reducing clutter is a sure-fire way to feel more at peace.” [...]

  • [...] Fingerprints For A Storage Unit!? Published December 18th, 2006 in Finance, Investing, Etc. and ID Theft & Credit. Tags: Fingerprints, Identity Theft, Poor Company Policy, Storage. We’re thinking about selling our condo since we’re bursting at the seams. The only problem is that you want to clear out the clutter when you’re showing the place because it makes it seem larger. As I’ve said before, I’m actually quite excited about the opportunity and motivation to review all the stuff we have and try to pare it down to a more manageable level. [...]

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