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5 Solid Reasons to Declutter Your Life

Jennifer Bradshaw

I've got way too much stuff.

I'm just gonna toss that out there and let it hang in the air for the moment.

I've been working on that whole decluttering my digital life thing from Emily McGee last week, and my whole physical world for the last month or so, and yet, I still feel like I have too much stuff. Granted, some of these things are hanging around, waiting to move on to new homes, but some of it is stuff that requires some more time and thought to move it on out of our space.

While I still have several areas that need to be thinned out and cleaned up, we've made a lot of progress, and everyone in the apartment has noticed that the space feels clearer and less... well... cluttered.

I think, in general, most of us could do with a serious downsize of the amount of stuff we have in our spaces, be they digital or physical spaces. But what is the point of decluttering at all?

5 reasons to declutter your life

Fasten your seatbelts, jelly beans, cause I'm gonna rock your socks off!

Reasons to declutter:

  1. Free up memory on your computer. How many bytes of memory are taken up on your computer storing stuff that you haven't looked at in months, or years, and you aren't likely to look at it, or need it, ever again? Do yourself a favor. Set aside a half hour a week to go through your electronic files and toss whatever no longer serves you and free up some space.
  2. Free up your time. How much of your valuable time gets wasted sifting through things you no longer need or use? You can't find that blouse you really want to wear to your meeting today, because it's buried underneath several other blouses that you haven't worn in years? You really need to find your child's shot records, but you can't, because you have dozens of sheets of paper covered in tempera paint that your sweet, darling child painted for you in preschool - and now they're headed off to college. You can do both yourself and your child a favor here. Pick just a few of those paintings that are your favorite, and toss the rest (once you've determined that the shot record you sought wasn't in there, of course!). 
  3. Less to clean. On the surface, this one seems pretty obvious. But do you think about it while you're spending hours dusting all those knickknacks that you rarely even look at anymore? Or are you guilty of just not dusting them at all (like me)? Either way. Your house will be healthier without all the places for dust bunnies to hide out and breed if you reduce how much stuff is laying around collecting. Flat surfaces are great places for dust and papers to pile up. Do a quick 5 minute sweet every evening to wipe off those flat surfaces and move papers to where they need to be.
  4. Better health. With decluttered spaces that can be quickly and easily cleaned on a regular basis, you have fewer places for allergens and germs to hang out. 
  5. Free up your own memory. When you have fewer things to try to remember (like where your darling son's shot record is), you free up your own mind. It's easier to find that place of inner peace, where you can quiet your own monkey mind and keep your thoughts in order.

Bonus: 

Okay, so I came up with six solid reasons to declutter. Here's one more place that many of us can declutter:

Our bodies.

Yup. How much of your diet is processed, sugary, starchy, unhealthy food? How many times to you mean to work out, or just take a walk, but you put it off because you're just too busy?

Take a good long look at your diet. What you feed your body affects all of you. It's not just about calories in and calories used. Where can you trim excess unhealthy food? Mind you, I'm not suggesting you never eat birthday cake again. I'm just suggesting that when you do indulge, you'll enjoy it that much more because it's not something you have a huge piece of every single day.

I've trimmed a good portion of the unhealthy starches out of my diet, and bread is my last big hurdle. It doesn't sit well with my belly, yet it's something that my brain seems to think I need in huge quantities. I've been gradually cutting back, because really, I just don't need it all that much. And when a craving gets to the point it's making me a little crazy, I lace up my tennies and take a nice walk, leaving myself the option to swing by the store and grab a package of bread if I still feel like I need it.

It's working. The weight I'm fighting is slowly disappearing, and more often than not, by the time I am at a place in my walk where I have to decide whether or not I want to get that bread at the store, the desire to get home and shower overrides the desire to have warm bread with cheese and butter melted all over it.


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