Clutter. It’s a serious problem in rich countries. How is this possible when we have nothing to worry about when it comes to material things?
I recently turned on Netflix and noticed a new series by Marie Kondo. I have purchased her book a few years ago and I loved it, so I started watching right away. If you don’t know her, she’s a (very cute) decluttering guru with a specific approach: you tidy by category, not by room, you follow a specific order, and you look at what you want to keep, not what you want to want to throw away.
My ‘hoarding behaviour’
I’ve been kind of a mild hoarder all my life, but I’m really trying to de-hoard. My mom is one (sorry mom but it’s true), and so I’ve been raised as one. A few times, when there would be a large garbage collection in town, we would drive through the streets looking for things we could collect, like small furniture. And I loved it! It was like a treasure hunt! My mom loves thrift shops and flea markets. Things kind of got out of hand when the biggest online flea market in the Netherlands became a thing. But for real: she has a talent for buying stuff for cheap and then selling them for much more. She has made some serious money by doing this.
Why do people hoard?
A lot of people have difficulties throwing stuff away. But why? Because we might need it one day? Why would we need it then if we don’t need it now? And we could just buy it again! According to adaa.org, “Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behaviour usually has deleterious effects — emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal — for a hoarder and family members.”
Fortunately, I am nothing like what you see on tv. You can obviously tell that their hoarding is a burden, but still they can’t stop it. I think this can have a few causes, like; the need to cope with mental shortcomings, compulsive buying, and I can imagine that you become a hoarder if you have experienced poverty. But, I think the first one is the number one cause.
Me and my clutter
I think I just learned to hoard. We just didn’t throw things away when I was a kid. I also hate clutter, so starting a decluttering project costs me an insane amount of energy. It’s something I love to procrastinate. Fortunately, my bestie is the best declutterer EVER. She has helped me so much! If you really think about it, your reasons to keep things often don’t make sense at all. Keeping clothes that you don’t wear is stupid; why would you ever wear them later if you don’t like them now?
Marie Kondo writes a lot about the reasons to get rid of things. Her book really changed my mind about this. For example, why would you keep things with sentimental value? The memories are still there, even when you get rid of the item. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to throw everything away. But it made me realize I kept too many things.
Just get rid of it…
Marie wants you to imagine what your ideal house looks like. Every one of the people in the series said that they are so much happier after decluttering, and I can totally imagine that. Chaos and clutter can make me feel so stressed! I also totally understand minimalists; how quiet and peaceful would it be to only have what you really need!
When I was at home for four months last year, I’ve cleaned up a lot of stuff on the lower floor where our bedroom is. I donated a lot of clothes and cleaned everything out. However, our spare bedroom upstairs is still a mess. It’s where my enormous crafting cupboard is and where we store everything that doesn’t have a home. And then there is the small walk-in closet in the hallway, where I store kitchen stuff, board games, documents, sports stuff like my barbell, my violin case, and a lot more. It was once tidy but not anymore, because it’s too small for everything I want to store there.
Mental space people!
I’ve had plenty of time in the past year, but again, not the mental space I need. Just like with an eating disorder or an addiction, you don’t ‘just change’ behaviour. You don’t just get rid of everything that you have kept for a reason. At this moment, I don’t have it either. But I will have 9 days off from the 16th of February, and this is where it’s going to happen. I’m SO ready to really declutter my upper floor! It feels like it’s much easier now that my mind is so much more at ease.
As for shopping; a few years ago, I used to buy quite a lot of stuff. I think I was trying to replace something I was missing. Now, I can easily decide that I don’t need something. I have everything I need. Sure, I still do buy stuff, but only things that really make me happy. I used to hate thrift shops and flea markets when I was younger, but now I love them, just like my mum. But I don’t just buy everything I like, I buy what I love. And sometimes I have to say goodbye to things I still love, like a very tiny Victorian side table I once bought at a thrift shop. But I sold it online to an elderly couple who also loved it. Or a small children’s desk (so cute!) that I had refurbished. I sold that to a father who was looking for a desk for his daughter. That was nice. 🙂
Decluttering is about saying goodbye to old times and starting something new. Living in the present. Clearing your mind. Letting go. I’m SO ready to get rid of my past! 💪
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