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Purging “Stuff” to Reduce Stress

I’m not a fan of making resolutions for a new year. In part because I try to improve myself all year long and in part because it feels like undue pressure. I gave in this year and Hart and I have made a joint resolution. It’s one that I hope will help my headaches by reducing my stress.

We’re going to fill at least one file box every two weeks of stuff that we don’t need. Less stuff means less cleaning and less visual clutter (which really bugs me), thus less to worry about.

It’s an ongoing process that we actually began last year. We recently donated 200 books to the public library and have sold nearly as many on the Amazon Marketplace. We made at least five donations Salvation Army (if you live in the western US, you can schedule a pick-up online) but we still have so much stuff. I don’t know where it all comes from, especially because we’ve been buying very little for the last six months.

I also have shelves of items to sell on eBay. (Most profitable will be my collection of concert shirts from 80s hair bands.) This is the hardest task for me to get on top of. It’s so much easier to give boxes away in one fell swoop than have to take pictures, write descriptions and monitor sales.

Items that can’t be sold or donated go into the Freecycle box. I’ve given away wrapping paper, light fixtures, gardening supplies, half-empty bottles of household cleaners, rancid soap-making oils and lots more.

I know that 26 file boxes won’t be sufficient to fit everything, so I’m sure we’ll exceed our goal. That’s a source of stress too — I can’t help but think of the resources used to make all of it and that so little of it is actually necessary.But I’ll try to contain my agonizing to problems over which I actually have control.

Empty bookshelves in the office, a linen closet that shuts, only necessities in the bathroom — all these make me feel lighter. Perhaps next year I’ll be writing posts from a clutter-free desk. I doubt it, but I do plan to enjoy whatever space I can free up.

Have you made any headache-related resolutions?

One Response to Purging “Stuff” to Reduce Stress

  1. Ted says:

    I’ve been approaching this from the opposite direction as you — trying to get my headaches under control so I can do a concentrated effort on clearing out the junk.

    I like your approach. Maybe if I can whittle away a bit at a time, I can make some progress in reducing this stress factor.

    ********
    I really do feel relieved when I purge an area — even if it’s only a shelf. The feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff does eventually come back, but that’s when I remind myself that every little bit helps.

    One thing I’ve learned is to take (digital) pictures of the piles of stuff I get rid of. When I feel like the house is still too full of stuff, looking at the photos reminds me that I have already accomplished a lot.

    Good luck with your purging. I hope it helps reduce your stress.

    Kerrie

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