Cut the clutter and live more simply

My Money January 23, 2017

In the past few years, millions of people around the country have looked at the stuff cluttering their homes and decided to get rid of it. Spurred by bestselling books, television segments and countless testimonials, decluttering is a trend that has swept the country.

People who take the time to clear their homes often claim the results are transformative. A clean room and a house that is filled only with objects that are necessary and bring joy creates clarity, reduces anxiety and increases productivity.

In addition to these positive psychological effects, a clean, decluttered house just looks better and is easier to live in.

Even if you keep a tidy home, there’s probably some junk you could get rid of. Whether you drop off a box of donations every month or live in a house in desperate need of a full purge, here is some commonsense advice on how you can declutter.

Keep only the things that give you joy
Essentially, decluttering is about getting rid of the things that don’t add value to your life. On one level, this can be a strictly utilitarian process. Do you use the crystal tumblers? Are you ever going to open those volumes of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire on your bookshelf?

But decluttering is about much more than doing without and getting rid of things. It’s about keeping things that bring you joy. And that’s how you should begin the process, by asking yourself: Does this bring me joy? Keep only those things.

Start with the least personal things
It’s human to grow attached to things, and getting rid of things can be hard. Therefore, don’t start clearing out your old boxes of photos first; build your way up to this level. Begin with impersonal items, like books, clothes or accessories. From there, move on to more personal items.

Take advantage of our digital world
The beauty of 21st century technology is its compactness. Items such as computers and speakers are getting better as they become smaller, and through digitization, you can store several rooms' worth of CDs, DVDs and books in a few hand-sized hard drives.

Paperless is the name of the game.

An easy way to do this is by getting rid of your checkbook and switching to online bill pay, an electronic method to pay bills without the hassle of checks and stamps.  Do this to keep your home office a sanctuary of productivity and calm. Because, that’s what decluttering is all about: making things more manageable and cutting the stress.

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