Junk Won’t Make You Happy

January 29, 2011 at 5:00 PM 6 comments

I’ve mentioned many times before that I’m a bit clutter-a-phobic. Ever since I was child I kept my room clean and my toys straight and orderly. I never liked to have a lot of items on my desk or dresser and I always knew exactly where to find things in my room. Before I studied for a test I always cleaned and straightened and if I’m really stressed I take the whole house apartment and reorganize everything. Somehow I feel if my things are in order my life will be in better order too.

As the years progress I consider myself more of a minimalist, but not in an extreme way. I certainly own more than 100 items and I definitely buy things just because I think they are pretty or cute. My closet and dresser drawers are full, but I wear every article of clothing inside of them and if I don’t I quickly ship them off to those in need.

Over the years I’ve simply decided that junk won’t make me happy. In fact, owning too much of it makes me feel nervous and stressed. Owning another tchotchke won’t fill a void in my life. Buying another decoration won’t make me feel more at peace with the world. It won’t stroke my ego or make me feel more important. It won’t impress anyone or make me feel cool.

In fact, for me, it works just the opposite. The less stuff I own the better I feel. I keep more money in the bank, I have more space to stretch out and overall I feel free. I waste less time acquiring and maintaining new things and feel less frustration because I have fewer things that will tarnish, break or need repair. I also think it’s better for my health, as I have less stuff to make me neurotic and less dust to wipe away.

I know so many couples that fight about money and stuff. One spouse disapproves of the way the other spent money. Then they fight because that stuff is constantly getting in their way. You can’t fight about stuff if you don’t buy any and you can’t fight about cleaning if there is nothing in the way.

When my husband and I sit together at the kitchen table or in the living room or even upstairs there isn’t any clutter between the two of us. This keeps us focused on one another and less distracted by our surroundings. I think it allows us to be physically and emotionally closer.

Buying less stuff makes me feel better about my impact on the environment simply because I have less trash to throw away. I’m sure in one way or another it also means I have a smaller carbon footprint on the world as consuming less means saving more energy and consuming fewer resources.

The truth is that stuff simply won’t fill the void in your life. In fact, I would argue that it only makes the void grow deeper and stronger as you put more and more things between you and the people you love.

As time goes by I hope to keep to a clutter-free, junk-free lifestyle. In fact, as the years go by I’m getting better and better at preventing junk from entering my home and when it does sneak in I feel much less guilty about getting rid of it.

Entry filed under: organization. Tags: .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  January 29, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Yup. I feel less guilt about getting rid of things that people (mostly my mother and mil)give me that I don't want but they think I do (or that I would be sentimental about). I just donated boxes full of things that had no emotional meaning for me. I've gotten quite ruthless recently. If it doesn't mean something to me, it's gone. Less is definitely more.

  • 2. The Merry  |  January 29, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    I appreciate living clutter free — in theory. In practice, my attitude is more 'don't touch my junk!'
    Sigh. Need to work on that.

  • 3. Maureen  |  January 30, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    I think I fall somewhere in the middle as I like to be surrounded by things which have value to me, but I can,t abide too much stuff.
    It has to be a happy medium for me.

  • 4. Anonymous  |  January 30, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    My mother in law passed leaving us basement full of STUFF…months have passed we are still sorting stuff. I will never do this to my daughters. Think of others…..

  • 5. Jenny  |  February 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I used to lead such a blissfully clutter-free life until I had kids. All of the sudden I have these two little people that come with all of their own stuff. Even if my husband and I keep the toys we buy for them to a minimum, grandparents seem to consider our "less stuff for the kids" mentality to be a close second to outright deprivation. Because of this, they enthusiastically fill the gap by overbuying for the kid's birthdays and Christmas.

    We try to give away toys the kids no longer play with often, but they still clutter up the house.

    I'm like you in that the clutter in my life leads to stress. I can't relax unless things are put away. So the less stuff we have to worry about keeping cleaned up the better!

  • 6. Hank  |  March 22, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Getting rid of junk or minimizing the clutter in my life is something that I want to do, but my wife and I have really struggled with owning too many possessions. Moving into a smaller home has shown us just how bad this has gotten.


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