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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jrphelps jrphelps

Yes, I think it absolutely does!  This is my plan for this weekend.  We moved into a house 3 years ago.  It felt like a mansion & we didn't have enough stuff to fill the space.  Now 3 years & a kid later, we have done lots of shopping for our selves & for the son.  It's time to throw some of that crap out & take a few trips to good will.  Hopefully a good soul cleansing.  When I can't find the clothes, I want, it's time to get rid of a bunch!!

Stacey. Stacey.

Yes, I totally agree. No matter how much I clean and rearrange, my house feels cluttered. When my house feels cluttered I feel stressed that I need to clean more.  it's a never ending cycle of moving things around but never feeling accomplished.

nonmember avatar CrystalMP

My rule of thumb for throwing things out is if I haven't touched it or used it in 6 months or more then it needs to go and since my husband doesn't share this same view he has his own room where I can shut the door on the crap he never uses.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I completely agree! Getting rid of stuff can also be very cathartic. My grandmother died recently and soon after hearing the news, I decided to clean out my closet, as it had been cramped for way too long. Granted, getting rid of thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of barely worn clothes is stressful in itself, but strangely enough, I felt much better and less upset after I was finished. That, and it also gave me something else to concentrate on.

rhps2000 rhps2000

Yes, I agree that clutter causes stress. I don't mind a little, but we have an entire bedroom full of moving day clutter. We moved in last year. Niecy Nash needs to come help me with this madness ... ooh, and give my house an awesome makeover! Ever see the show where the owner absolutely hates the makeover? A guilty pleasure. ;)

paren... parentalrights1

Yeah I recently figured that out while nesting during pregnancy. I felt so depressed all the time, no matter how much I cleaned, it still didn't feel good in the house.

I started rearranging and throwing unnecessary things away. Found some used furniture with more storage space so things weren't all getting shoved in a closet and actually had a decent place to be kept and found that it made more space in the home and made a much happier vibe.

carole76 carole76

Not so much stressed, but feeling organized does put a smile on my face.

count... countrygirl670

I think in general- unless you are actually moving-  if you are renting a storage space, you have too much stuff.  My husband has some hoarding tendencies, but having too much stuff stresses me out, so every year during spring cleaning I do a major dump and donate.   I have to do it on my days off (when he is at work and can't watch, because I have caught him going thru my donation piles and garbage bags trying to take things out.  His parents are pack rats, too.  Sometimes they give him stuff to bring home from their "stash".  Makes me so mad!  I'm like, "Stop bringing your parents garbage home to become our garbage."

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