You can’t change the world with a house full of junk: The greater purpose in decluttering

Decluttering. Love it or hate it, it’s an essential habit in the 21st century consumer society we live in. But is it worth all the effort if your entire aim is just to have a house that looks magazine worthy?

Aiming for a Pinterest perfect home will just leave us constantly dissatisfied with the mess, or constantly tidying to maintain it. Houses are for living in, not magazine displays.

Decluttering as an end in itself has limited purpose. But as a means to an end, it’s invaluable.

When your physical possessions are out of control, it’s hard to have a clear head or be genuinely productive in what you do. When your schedule is bursting at the seams, you can’t hear yourself think.

The more ruthless I’ve been in decluttering my home and my life, the more at peace I’ve felt in my home and my head. The more relaxed I feel, the more energy and headspace I have to explore other pursuits. Starting a blog a couple of years ago, for example, was borne out of my then newly decluttered home. Creating physical and mental space in our lives tends to have a far wider reaching impact than we anticipate.

Living with less stuff and less commitments allows more time, space and energy to focus on what’s truly important in life; pursuing your purpose (whether that be finding the cure for cancer or creating a great family culture), investing in friendships and relationships with others, and time to just be.

So if you’re keen to change the world, or even just have space to hear yourself think, I recommend starting with your kitchen cupboards. Who knows where you’ll end up…


This post is modified from a post originally published on ihearthome.

The Cost of Clutter: Why Decluttering is Essential in the 21st Century

Why Decluttering is Essential in the 21st Centurl

Why do we need to edit our stuff?

We live in a world of excess. We’re all buying too much stuff too much of the time. Stuff is cheap and available these days, so we have a lot of it.

One big stumbling block to decluttering is to see it as wasteful; throwing away perfectly good things that you’ve spent money on. We think we’re being resourceful by saving everything. I used to think like that.

In the 1950s, you didn’t necessarily need to learn to declutter; buying things was pretty expensive, and there just wasn’t so much stuff available to buy. So if you were a bit of a hoarder it wouldn’t turn your house into a shambles. It was resourceful to keep, reuse and recycle everything. But unfortunately that virtue of resourcefulness has in many ways become a vice in the 21st century.

Why Decluttering is Essential in the 21st Centurl

Our clutter costs us. Keeping everything doesn’t save us money, it actually costs us. 

What Are The Costs of Clutter?

Space: The more you have the more space you need. The size of our houses has doubled in the last 50 years, yet we still don’t have room to fit everything in our homes. Storage container shops, and off-site storage facilities are booming. Many of us have double garages but not a single car parked in them. It’s the world gone mad! Honestly, you don’t need all the stuff. Space and room to breathe is a beautiful thing.

Time: Excess clutter means more time spent cleaning, tidying, organising, sorting, and hunting for things. Own less, and you’ll be able to find and manage what you have. And you’ll have more time to do the more important things in life.

Money: Aside from the money spent buying an excessive amount of things, you’ll spend more on buying new storage containers and shelving to store your stuff. And possibly even a storage unit to store all the excess. You’ll spend more on ongoing maintenance, cleaning, repairs, insurance premiums. And you may feel the need to buy a bigger house to contain it all. Why not just get rid of the stuff and save your money for far more worthy, life giving pursuits?

Mental energy: Too much stuff leads to time spent stressing about your stuff, feeling overwhelmed by mess, feeling guilty about things you’ve bought that you don’t like/use/need. Own less, you’ll stress less. Simple as that. Really.

It keeps us from living in the present: As I wrote about here, our clutter distracts us, and pulls us away from the present. And essentially if we live lives of distraction, our clutter ultimately costs us the experience of a life lived fully alive.

So if you’re struggling to part with an item that cost you a lot, consider the ongoing price you pay, by keeping it. Why not cut your losses and experience the benefits of owning less? It’s totally worth it.