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Simple Living

Why Decluttering your Space is Good for you

Today marks the start of our Decluttering Series that will run for the next five weeks. Decluttering our spaces and owning less is something Krista and I both continually try and work on. And it is just that–a continual work in progress!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some resources, some approaches to decluttering, and some creative, environmentally friendly ways to dispose of your belongings.

To start off, today I’m sharing some thoughts on why decluttering your space and letting belongings go is a good thing.

Good for you

I’m sure there are a number of scientific studies out there for the benefits of decluttering, but I thought I’d just share from my own experience on how having less has been good for my life overall.

I am known to say that my surroundings are a reflection of my inner state of being. That could come across as a super spiritual, Zen, philosophical statement, but what I mean is that if my space is chaotic and messy, that is likely how I’m feeling on the inside.

“Stuff” can so easily take over our spaces. Owning less stuff is not going to necessarily mean I’ll have a completely tidy space, but it helps to have less things to clutter my space and my mind.

Do you have a closet full of items that you rarely look at?

What about Junk drawers?

Parking garage that doesn’t fit a car?

I have places like this in my home and am far from perfect in this decluttering game. Last year during the Money Master Class, we were asked to take inventory of our stuff. That’s when I found out I had 18 pairs of scissors. This included fancy edged craft scissors, but still, that’s a lot!!

Getting rid of things I don’t use brings a sense of relief. Relief that I don’t have to store it, move it, deal with it–whatever that item was.

Going through this process also helps me reflect on my attachment to things. I don’t believe owning stuff is bad, but I do believe that it can sometimes be unhealthy. I like to be aware of why I’m bringing items into my home and what is motivating to keep owning something.

If it is not useful for my life, either practically or sentimentally, then why am I holding onto it?

Seven years ago, right before I was going on a long trip, I got rid of around half of my belongings. Know what the crazy thing is? I don’t miss anything I gave away and have never regretted doing it. It was all just extra baggage I was carrying around with me and I was lighter after letting it go.

Good for your finances

Decluttering my life and purging out excess belongings has actually helped me appreciate and utilize the things I do own.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. I know what I have. If my belongings are buried in piles of stuff, it is likely that I won’t be able to find something I need or that I’ll forget I have some thing. Knowing what I own means that I won’t unnecessarily go out and purchase something.

2. I am comfortable with less. Owning less has helped me be more comfortable with less. I find I need to run out to buy things less often because I can find an alternative solution. That solution might be borrowing a tool instead of buying one or it may be finding a creative solution by using a different item.

Being comfortable with what I already own and being able to find and utilize those things to their best potential means I have to buy less stuff.

If I buy less stuff, chances are I’ll have more money.

That’s not a ground breaking statement, but one that can get overlooked.

Canadians spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on stuff every year.

Data from Stats Can shows the following for average household expenditures on stuff in 2017:

$3,430 on clothing and accessories
$962 on household furnishings
$554 on household appliances
$158 reading and other printed materials

Also consider that 9.5% of Canadian households pay money to store their stuff in storage facilities.

Stuff costs money. Needing less, means spending less.

Good for the environment

Getting a handle on what we own, means we can be more educated about what we bring into our homes.

Without going into a lot of brain-numbing statistics, from a basic level we can understand that less stuff is better for our environment.

Less stuff means less items in production, which can mean less pollution.

Less stuff means less packaging, which can mean less garbage in the landfill.

Less stuff means less transportation of goods, which can mean less emissions.

Less stuff means less waste, which our world needs less of.

Decluttering Series

Are you in a place where you’re ready to let some things go?

Over the next set of weeks, we’ll be talking time to share some posts on decluttering and journeying to own less.

I’m no where near a minimalist and I don’t know that I’ll truly become one, but I am working towards being more mindful of the things I own and why I hold onto them.

If you are wanting to explore the topic more, check out my first decluttering series where I documented getting rid of one item every day for 30 days: 30 Things in 30 Days.

We’ll be sharing what we are parting ways with in our Instagram stories in this next round of 30 days as we try the challenge again!

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  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    Years ago, someone was doing work on our house and he commented “Wow! You actually have room in your garage to park your car. That’s rare.” It makes you wonder why people have so much stuff.

    I look forward to following along with this series. I think having less clutter is very freeing!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It is crazy to think how rare it is for people to put cars in their garage. They always seem to be for “stuff.”

  • Stephanie

    You are SO right: decluttering your space is incredible! It’s so beneficial for our wallets, our mental health (truly), and it keeps our home from becoming a complicated and messy place! Such a great article here!

  • Carole

    I’ve been decluttering ever since reading Marie Kondo’s book. That simple helpful question ‘Does this spark joy?’ really does help with some of the more tricky decisions. It’s an ongoing work in progress but I’m really pleased with what I’ve achieved. I’ve also made around $300 selling some of my stuff on e-bay 🙂 and that includes unwanted gifts (again, Marie – bless her – helped me over the guilt of doing that). Your comment about scissors made me laugh. I decided to have a go at our kitchen cupboards recently, to get rid of out-of-date foodstuff – and discovered 11 different bags of sugar.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Oh I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with a miscellaneous accumulation of something! 🙂 Decluttering is a journey, isn’t it? That’s so awesome you’ve been able to sell some of your things too. And I agree on letting go of guilt over parting with unwanted gifts. That is a really freeing thing.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!