Get Rid of Stress by Getting Rid of Stuff

messGuess what? You have way too much stuff. And guess what else? Even though you probably bought most of that stuff because it made you happy at the time, it's actually doing the opposite. So say the authors of the new book "Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors," and I absolutely agree. As the book explains:

"Our excess becomes a visible sign of unaccomplished work that constantly challenges our deeply engrained notions of tidy homes and elicits substantial stress."

Or, to put it in layman's terms: All that crap we stuff into closets and cram under beds that ends up all over the house no matter how many plastic containers from IKEA we buy makes us feel like lazy slobs who can't get anything done and are probably going to end up on that godawful Hoarders show.

I learned this lesson firsthand recently when I decided to clean out my rental storage space ...


Here's a little secret about paying $80 (or more) for a room with a padlock in some warehouse where you can shove all the stuff you own but don't have room for and never really use but you OWN it, after all, so what are you gonna do, throw it out?!

Yes!! Throw it out! That's the secret: If you can live without that lamp with the broken shade or set of tea cups you got for $2 at a stoop sale or dusty old stationary bike long enough to forget it was ever in your possession at all ... you don't need it.

Anyway, back to cleaning out my storage space. What I realized, as the day went on and the room grew empty and my back started throbbing, was that holding on to useless junk weighs us down. Weighs us down emotionally with half-relevant memories and intellectually with long-abandoned beliefs and hell, even financially (that monthly storage bill, argh!).

By the end of the day I was ready to renounce all material possessions and become a monk. Of course, then I got back to my cluttered apartment and my back was killing me and I thought, Well, I'll deal with all this junk another day and made myself a margarita.

But I have no doubt that when I do, eventually, deal with all this junk? I'll be way less stressed.

Do you think having too much stuff makes us stressed?


Image via ninasaurusrex/Flickr

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