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Declutter Your Way to a Happier, Less Stressful Life

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There are plenty of easy ways to reduce stress for summer. You could calm down with some soothing sounds, learn a few controlled breathing techniques and even reset your internal dialogue. Helpful approaches, all.

But wouldn’t you prefer something that will reduce your stress levels permanently? Done properly, this something I’m referring to will also make you more productive. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

I’ll lead with the caveat that it won’t necessarily be easy, but the payoff is huge. Still keen? Excellent, let’s jump in.

If you want to be happier, less stressed, more productive and better off financially, all you have to do is declutter your life. I say that glibly, but I also understand it’s not that simple.

Addiction comes in many forms. Some people are addicted to food or alcohol or work, even. Others are addicted to spending money on stuff they don’t need. We all have our vices (mine is coffee), but often what starts out as a fun pastime can quickly spiral out of control.

The Statistics of Clutter

If you’re someone who is prone to shop more than you should, perhaps these clutter statistics will help you curb your errant ways. Consider this.

The average American spends a year of his/her life searching for lost items. Imagine what you could have done with that time if you weren’t rooting around for your car keys and cell phone.

Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods. Not surprisingly, nearly half of U.S. households don’t save any money.

It’s estimated that Americans consume twice as many material goods today as they did 50 years ago. Is it any wonder then, that 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them.

And that’s just the tip of the clutter iceberg.

Why Declutter?

Clutter stresses you out, hinders productivity and depletes your bank account. Predictably, your anxiety levels skyrocket, leaving you feeling miserable, overwhelmed and generally daunted by life.

A far better idea is to spend your money on experiences instead. The memories that come from those experiences will not only last longer but make you happier, too. Think of it as a win-win.

Knowing you won’t be faced with a mountain of clutter means you’ll actually look forward to going home. Your house should be a place of refuge, not somewhere you dread returning to at the end of the day.

How to Declutter

 Decluttering can be boring and time-consuming, so try one of these creative ways to make it more fun. An easy way to get started is to simply commit to giving away one item a day. From there you could progress to filling one trash bag.

Another option is to make a list of the areas that need decluttering and start with the easiest one. This will give you the boost of confidence you need to tackle the more challenging tasks. More often than not, though, ‘how’ isn’t the issue.

When something seems too daunting, it can be difficult to find the motivation to tackle it. Luckily, we live in the age of Google, where everything is a few keystrokes away. You can search for anything from ‘declutter courses’ to ‘TED talks on minimalism’ and you’ll find yourself inundated with inspiration and ideas.

Of course, success lies not so much in decluttering, but in staying decluttered. Like with any addiction, you need to understand why you’re so attached to the things you own. Once you do, you’ll be able to let them go and enjoy a happier, less stressful life.

This article was written by Angela Horn

Angela Horn is one of two urban hippies behind Mostly Mindful: a not-so-hardcore blog about buying less, doing more, and living sustainably in the city. Watch her TEDx talk on minimalism and join her on her mission to declutter the world.

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