You know you should declutter your house, and get rid of things you no longer use or want. But beyond getting more space in your home, there may be some unexpected benefits to decluttering. Here are some of the most common.
A sense of freedom and relief. For many people, having too much stuff can be overwhelming and induce anxiety. If coming home makes you feel anxious, or you have a room you avoid being in, it may be because of all the stuff in it. Taking the time to clear it out can relieve anxiety and tension. But even if you aren’t bothered by all the extra stuff you own, there can be a sense of relief in finishing a task you knew needed to be done.
Savings or found money. If you have a lot of stuff, it can be hard to know what you have and what you need. Some people find that they have bought the same item repeatedly because they didn’t know what they’d done with the originals. Others are able to sell items that they no longer wanted. And sometimes, people find cash or valuables they didn’t know they had.
Finding out what’s really important to you. Much of what we own is put away and not looked at it. Going through the closets, cabinets and drawers is a good way to determine what among the things you own is meaningful and important to you and why. If you discover family heirlooms that are important to you as you clean out, that’s great. The next step is to display or use them. And if in the process of cleaning things, you discover that they aren’t important to you, that’s also great. You can donate, sell or give them away to someone who will want or use them.
Letting go of the past or painful memories. Sometimes, we hang on to things from the past because it’s the past. And sometimes, these things evoke painful memories or bad times, particularly the death of someone we loved. Going through old items, particularly of a deceased loved one, can be cathartic and open us up to the next stage of life.
Benefitting someone else. If you donate or give away items, you’ll be helping someone else. Thrift and resale stores, like those run by the Salvation Army, benefit people in two ways. People who can’t afford to buy new can put your gently used clothing, tools, kitchen items and furniture to good use. And the organization that runs the thrift store uses the proceeds from thrift store sales for programs that help people. If you’ve gathered together a large donation, you should feel good about helping others.
Finally, you’ll feel better about your impending move if you do a good job of decluttering. You’ll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack. You’ll know that you’re only taking those things you need and want. And you’ll be able to set up your new home without a nagging sense that you should really get rid of some of this stuff.