Removing clutter can remove stress from your life. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Are you upset when you take visual inventory of your home? Do you see rooms piled with clutter? Are your closets and storage cabinets crammed with junk?

You likely tell yourself: “I’m busy helping my family and doing my job. I don’t have time to deal with my messy house.”

Most of us reach this point every few years. We let the house cleaning and clutter slide for many reasons. But, when we take command over the home front, we’ll garner energy to tackle life with more gusto.

“I’m really disturbed about my housekeeping these days,” says a clothing store owner we’ll call Jenny. “If my clients saw my personal space, they’d think I’ve gone nuts.”

Here are some reasons to find motivation to clean up:

n You’ll find treasure inside all the clutter. For example, it’s likely you’ll find important paperwork, books, jewelry and more inside the “stuff.” Just try sorting a few boxes or piles. No doubt, you’ll discover something you’re thrilled to find.

n You’ll feel more in control of your life. Sorting through just one room, and organizing it well, will make you feel you’re on top of things. Sure, it takes discipline to do this. But, you’ll feel your power to focus and your self-respect growing.

n Your creativity will increase. It’s amazing how de-cluttering your home will make you want to do more. A neat room will inspire you to paint walls, buy new furnishings, and create a space you’re proud of.

A divorced dad of three says he let his home pile up for seven years. We’ll call him Johnny.

“My 12-year-old wanted to have some friends over a couple of years ago, but I was too embarrassed,” says Johnny. “The kids might have overlooked the mess, but their parents would not have.”

Johnny got busy, making the clutter diminish, by tossing stuff into large plastic tubs. He earmarked all this for the dump or giving to charity organizations.

Next, he told the kids, “We’ll spend four weekends cleaning the bedrooms out.” They dragged every item, one room at a time, into the living room.

“We only put back what was treasure, not trash or junky stuff,” says Johnny. “The leftover stuff we couldn’t place anywhere went to the garage for disposal.

“Within six weeks, our house looked fine again,” Johnny declares. “It was like purging heaviness from our souls. I think it helped the kids mentally, and I know it helped me.”

Getting in the mood to de-clutter and clean is 99 percent of the battle. However, creating this mood can be enhanced by things you can control.

“My husband and I turned on some great music,” says a college teaching assistant we’ll call Vickie. “Our home office was crammed with old paperwork. The music got us feeling lighter and more enthused as we tidied up drawers and shelves. I think we got twice as much discarded when high-energy tunes were playing.”

A thrift store owner we’ll call Jackie says that taking planned breaks can help, too. Her job requires her to sort through lots of donated items and estate items left in people’s houses.

“I try to sort 10 boxes every two hours,” says Jackie. “I work for an hour, then take a 15-minute break.”

She goes on to say, “Sorting through junk, paperwork, and old stuff is a royal pain. Let’s not kid ourselves. But, I’ve found some very good treasures in my boxes. Today, I found some valuable books, jewelry, and historic photos I’ll donate to our town’s archives. I try to think of clutter control as an adventure.”

Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.org.

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