Many of us strive for a more simplified life, in which what
surrounds us are things we either truly love or truly need, preferably
both. To arrive at — and to maintain — such a lifestyle, we have to get
rid of things, whether it's in one fell swoop or in small doses. While
it feels like a big mountain to climb, getting rid of things ultimately
feels sooo good. Here's why.
Physical space and mental space go hand-in-hand. Clutter is visual noise, and the disarray creeps into our mental faculties as well (for some of us more than others).
So it stands to reason that clearing out our physical spaces, making
room for air and light and growth, would be mirrored in our psyches as
well. Just think how much better you work when your desk is cleaned off —
now extend that to your life.
Separating from the past can heal us. We hang onto so
many things because of the memories tied to them. When we de-clutter,
we have the opportunity to interact not only with our physical
possessions, but with the memories and feelings they trigger. This can
be negative but cathartic, as when we let go of things we've held onto
out of fear of letting go or of not being in control. The act of getting
rid of these things can be painful but is nevertheless triumphant,
inspiring a feeling of this has no hold on me!! as things are discarded. I think watching this interplay between our things and our personal histories is what had me hooked on Hoarders for a time.
Making decisions makes us strong. When we make a decision about something, even something as small as whether to keep those curtain rods, we do gain
some control, and the feeling is addicting and self-perpetuating. If
you can donate years' upon years' worth of children's clothes, for
instance, you're not only making room mentally and physically. You're
also empowered to tackle that next thing that's been hanging over you or
crowding your consciousness: exercising, asking your boss for a raise,
copying your pictures off your phone, whatever.
You have less stuff to deal with. This is the most
obvious reward of getting rid of stuff, and most definitely not the
smallest. Each thing that goes out your door is one less thing you have
to find a place for, organize again and again, or clean. That, my
friends, is freedom and boy does it feel good!