As you gear up for the holidays and preparing for New Year's Resolutions, clearing out the clutter is a good one to add to your list. In a previous article, I talked about the importance of clearing your mind of clutter. As a follow up to that piece, this article will illustrate the importance of how clearing out your space can lead to more mental freedom and clarity of mind. We all know that our minds can get cluttered with all of the things that we have to do on a daily basis from work demands, to academic assignments to extracurricular activities. However, do we really take the time to see how much our space in which we live could be cluttering our life and mind? It seems to be human nature to accumulate more stuff as we live more and work more and crave more space in the process. Yet, when we reflect back to when we lived in our first apartment or college dorm room, we were forced to live with less. You might agree that there is a certain freedom that came with less things and less space to accommodate those things and less strain on our minds that gave us the ability to focus on more important priorities such as term papers and major exams, spending time with friends and relationships. When we are constantly consumed by where to put our stuff and/or losing something and ruminating over where we put it, we are taking time away from the things that matter most and diverting our focus from the things that really need our attention such as spending extra time preparing for that math exam.
Statistics show that we have three times the space that we had 50 years ago and that personal storage is a 22 billion dollar industry. However, people are still taking up space as they accumulate possessions over time. In the process, we are not necessarily happier beings, but rather more confused and discombobulated than ever.
In his website, Graham Hill discusses the importance of “editing ruthlessly” – actively purging our space of clutter and “clearing the arteries of our lives”; letting go of extra articles of clothing or things that we don’t need. He also discusses the idea that less is more or smaller space is more appealing and how multifunctional sinks and housewares can help us manage our space in multiple ways depending on how many guests we are serving and organize our things to create more space. All of these approaches lead to more time and freedom to address more important priorities and/or reflect on important decisions. When making a purchase, he encourages us to think of “will this make me happy” or is this just something extra that I don’t need or won’t use?
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