Compliments of Rubbermaid via Flickr

As Americans, we live by the “more is better” mantra. As the jolt that we experience from new purchases wanes, we realize there is now more to catalogue, clean, maintain, worry about, insure, and potentially misplace. The tiny house revolution is in some measure backlash against the materialism that keeps us chained to the things we seemingly cherish. In all honesty, how many pairs of shoes, cups/saucers/koozies/glass storage containers/candle holders do you really need? At some point, even items intended for organizing purposes can become clutter (instead of the space saving innovations for which they were intended). I am wary regarding new purchases – for the most part limiting these to weekly essentials like foodstuffs. I simply do not have room (or the mental capacity) for additional accumulation, nor the resources to allocate to an ever increasing array of things. So I stockpile and subsequently purge.

Last month it was a load of cups that littered kitchen cabinets. Stacked high on top of one another, each one suffocating in an uncomfortable too small cramped space.

You know the ones I’m talking about.

Freebies from bygone conferences embossed with years past; hand-me-downs that turned out to be tokens I later found useless. The problem with clutter is indeed skewed proportion, in that we cannot see what we have (or truly need) because the unwanted has claimed front and center shelf space. Beautiful new unused mugs must take refuge within our kitchen corners.

Time-worn faded and old may appear comforting, but occasionally needs liquidation and a corresponding deep clean. Debinging begins at the store. Before you plunk new and shiny objects inside your shopping cart, consider if they are truly something so unique/eye-catching/high quality that it would be difficult for you to live without them. Consider how many things from five years ago you still have. The glittery items that bring with them short-lived pleasure end up lost, broken, or in many cases simply forgotten. Unless you think a trinket is something you can’t live without (or something you will love for a life time), then perhaps you should leave it. Think sparingly about your new possessions. The shiny soon become shelved and dust covered – warehoused within our homes like second day holiday presents. Experts have even suggested our excess stuff may contribute to anxiety and other mental health issues.

Collecting the unnecessary prevents us from enjoying our current harvest. Move to decrease dust collectors, and give treasured items your much need attention. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Your neglected things will thank you.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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