Stuff. We’ve all got it, we’re all buying it, we’re all trying to get rid of it. And yet, somehow, we have an innate desire to acquire more. Sure, we can point a finger at the depression era...our grandmothers have two refrigerators, each filled with more food than any one family can consume in a lifetime. They knew what it was like to go without, and they lived prepared to take on that hardship again. Some of that fear trickled down into the next generation, and--coupled with a rise in cheap, man-made materials and even cheaper manufacturing--the baby boomers relished in an era of consumerism. It was easier than ever to have more stuff. And now, here we are, at the brink of possibly running out of everything, and drowning in piles of outdated, unused multiples of stuff. Our minds and attention spans are more than overloaded because, as it turns out, there are links between stress levels and a high density of objects inside one's home, as well as between clutter and depression (studies! Science!). Simply put, our brains have a harder time focusing and being creative when we're in messy environments. Translation: all that stuff we "can’t live without" is totally stressing us out. It’s a vicious cycle, but as a result, there are now countless books and self-help guides on minimalism and the importance of being tidy. At last, the "more is more" movement is shifting.
As realtors and designers, we know this conundrum all too well. And, while we love a well-curated, eclectic space, we can’t sing enough praises for a clean and efficient one. We hear it all the time: "There's not enough storage," "I need more closets," or "I wish I had more space." More space to hide more things. The truth is, most folks already have plenty of space, but, because it isn't being used efficiently, it just doesn't feel like it. It may seem like you need all of the things that are currently bursting out of your inadequate storage spaces, but you might be surprised at all the things you're holding space for that you don't need. If you've got the room, you're far more likely to get stuff to fill it. So, in the interest of saving your space (and your sanity), we urge you to purge. Get into those closets/drawers/basements and be ruthless. Be steadfast. Pretend they're not even your things, but rather the belongings of an unforgivable ex, which you'll be piling in the front yard to light on fire while screaming damnations into the sky (but really, just neatly place them in piles and take them to your local donation center, okay?) Let's let go of all the items in our lives that don't bring us legitimate joy, and reclaim our right to an open, airy, and stress-free environment.
Looking for a way to get started? Moving is a perfect opportunity to cleanse yourself of things you don't need. Think about it: when you move, you're forced to touch every item you own, and make a decision as to which box (or trash can) it goes in. Don't bring all that [literal] baggage into your next space. You don't actually need 6 pairs of black jeans (tough love) or two busted tennis racquets or the leftover chargers to your old Nokia. The surefire way to ensure you have only the things you really love/need? Have fewer spaces in which to hide them. That wee closet you loathe is actually a blessing in disguise. Place only your favorites inside. Quality over quantity, kids. Get a little more minimal in your life, and see how it affects you mind, your mood, your space, and this whole big world we live in.