And It Is Likely In Your Own Home!
By Dr. Michelle Kmiec, Founder OHH
Sometimes many of our frustrations are related to insignificant things in our life that we have ignored or overlooked. For example:
How many times have you bumped your head on the bottom of the cabinet while reaching for something? And you do this all the time! Maybe every time you move a piece of clothing in your closet three other pieces falls off the hangers. Don’t you just hate that? Or perhaps your closet is so full that finding anything is nearly impossible, but when you do finally see that sweater you are looking for, of course, it is on the top shelf. So when you reach for it inevitably causes all of your other sweaters to come tumbling down on your head! Ugh!
How about those semi-broken machines, gadgets, or appliances that you continue to hold on to? That relic of a phone you still “might use” one day, or the five calculators living in different rooms of your house. Are you still hanging on to old VHS tapes? Not to mention all those cords, wires and cables that you really don’t know what they’re for, but keep them anyway, well, just in case you may need them.
Sound familiar? You know it does 🙂
I had a semi-broken printer that I was determined to keep. It still printed okay, but the little digital menu window no longer lit up and this made printing anything a bit of a challenge because I’d have to keep tapping on it hoping that I’d eventually tap on just the right spot so the printer would work. So what did I do? I avoided printing whenever I could so as not to get annoyed. There were times that I even went to Staples to print out the materials I needed! And when asked why I don’t buy a new printer my response was, “Well, the printer still kind-of works and I don’t really want to spend the extra money.” How many times have you said something like that?
But is all of the frustration, time and effort involved in going to the store to print worth not spending money on a new printer? And keep in mind, it costs money to drive to the store and print documents at the local Staples.
How many items do you have in your home right now that cause you frustration, but you continue to hang onto them?
And while we are on the subject of holding onto things, how many things do you have in your closet that you haven’t worn in months or years? Or worse, how many things in your home have you not looked at or used for years (sometimes decades) yet you continue to hold onto them?
Check out these statistics – Did you that:
- There are over 300,000 items in the average American home!
- One-third of Americans are embarrassed by the clutter in their car.
Now is it possible that this is connected to some of the stress we experience on a daily basis?
Well, in fact, a recent survey conducted by an Online Internal Research Team for the Huffington Post, polled 1,000 U.S. adults and asked how stressed they were on any given day. The results were extremely revealing and in line with other similar surveys and studies. Without a doubt, Americans are stressed out!
The data showed that a shocking 91 percent of Americans felt stressed about something that had occurred in the past month, and 77 percent said that they experienced daily stress!
Of those who experienced stress, nearly one-third said they were extremely stressed by their homes and the lack of organization. According to the survey, 87 percent of women and 81 percent of men reported not just stress but also anxiety over home upkeep.
For me, it wasn’t an issue of cleanliness, but rather one of clutter.
There were just too many unnecessary things scattered about my home! Over the past few years, I have been steadily reducing the number of dust-collecting “things” that no longer serve a purpose in my life. And it has literally been a revelation.
For the most part, I now only have things that I really want and use. I know exactly where they are and cleaning has become a joy rather than a burden. It’s true what they say –
Reduce the clutter in your life and it truly does reduce the clutter in your mind!
Minimizing your belongings not only greatly improves your living condition, but also gives you a sense of change, allows for a cleaner living environment, and can even increase your focus and clarity.
All you need to be successful is to have the inner strength to let go of the things that no longer serve you or cause stress in your life.
Are you ready to reduce some stress?
Part 1: Discover What’s Really in Your Home
Now on the surface, this may seem like an obvious and easy activity to take part in, yet it is one that so many regularly procrastinate about though it could dramatically improve their lives. So here are some suggestions that can help get you started.
First, give yourself a few days to really observe what brings on unnecessary stress and the items that might reduce this stress if they were to be removed from your life.
Take note of what annoys you on a daily basis. Some things may be obvious to you, while others may not. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you find it difficult to find what you are looking for?
- Do you avoid inviting people to your home because of the clutter? Do you worry about unannounced visitors?
- Do you have drawers that are so stuffed that there isn’t room to squeeze anything else into them?
- Do you really know what is in your refrigerator and freezer? How about your basement and/or attic?
- How many cleaning products do you still have from ten or twenty years ago?
- How many broken items do you own that you keep saying you will fix “one day”?
- How many items of clothing do you hold onto waiting for them to eventually come back into style?
Part 2: Begin the Process of Letting Go
I know that it can be difficult to let some things go, but when you really question why you are holding onto them and begin the process of lightening the load in your living environment (including your car) it will get easier.
The first step is to make the decision that today you will let go of some of the things in your life. You may find that you just aren’t ready to release some items and that’s okay. Simply come back to those items at a later date. The point of this activity is to begin to feel the energetic difference as you start to minimize the clutter in your life.
Here are some helpful questions that you can ask yourself as you contemplate letting go of a particular item:
- Does this item really add to my life?
- When was the last time I saw, wore, or used this item? If more than 2 years ago, seriously consider letting it go.
- What purpose would keeping this item serve?
Then, make the decision to let go of at least 5 things that no longer serve you well. Consider donating these items to Goodwill or a homeless shelter, or any other place that these items could serve others.
There were items that I was holding onto for sentimental reasons. When it came to these, I chose to honor them and the memory (perhaps of a person or event) by enjoying them one last time. I took pictures of these items and added my commentary so that I could continue to hold onto them but without adding to the clutter. Of course, there will always be those items that you will never want to part with and this is okay. But you will have to determine which items and for what reasons.
Afterward, reevaluate your stress level. Do you feel lighter? I bet you’ll be ready to let go of some more things!
Many people find that once they begin this process, it is difficult to stop. In the end, you will be left with only the things that truly serve you and that you truly enjoy having in your life!