The Happiness Project – Declutting Edition
I recently finished the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I know, I’m behind but I found a used copy at the yearly children’s book sale held at the mall not too long ago. For the most part, it was a pretty good book that made you think about your own life and the little things you can do to appreciate what you have and not take for granted the beautiful opportunities around us!
Have you read The Happiness Project? What was your favorite chapter?
There was one particular chapter that I was really fond of. If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about. It’s chapter 1: Boost Energy. Part of the chapter talked about tossing, restoring and organizing. My eyes immediately widened and I was alert and excited to see what information Gretchen had to offer.
In today’s post I wanted to go over the different varieties of clutter that she came across in her journey to finding self-happiness…because why not. Obviously I won’t divulge what the entire book is about, let alone a chapter but, I will give you a sneak peak. It’s literally 2 pages out of the 306! There are different names to these types of clutter that I’m sure you’ll come across in different blogs and books and what not. I really related the 8 different types she gave and enjoyed the names that came with it! Do you have the same varieties of clutter in your home?
Types of Clutter
- Nostalgic/Sentimental clutter – relics clung from an earlier life. This type of clutter can be really tough to give up. I’m not recommending tossing it all out. But you can take photos of some of them and make a nostalgia file on your computer that you’re more likely to go through than a box hidden in the basement. I’m in a high school facebook reunion group and I read of some classmates who have kept balloons and banners from that day. I think that’s pretty nutty. How about those birthday cards from 10 years ago. Are they really that important to keep?
- Conservation clutter – self-righteous clutter that is useful, just not to you. Unless you consistently have parties where people drink wine, I’m pretty sure you don’t need 20+ wine glasses. I think I have around 15…and I don’t even drink wine.
- Bargain clutter – unnecessary clutter bought because they were on sale. I think we all have this type clutter! Just because mugs are on sale doesn’t mean you need to stock up. And just because things are on ‘sale’ doesn’t mean you saved money, it just means you spent less.
- Freebie clutter – stuff you get for free, duh. I’m sure most people love getting freebies. Getting free stuff just makes things better, right? Initially, yes. But once you get home, what do you do with all the Frisbees and lanyards, and coffee mugs and pens? Who needs all this stuff? I wish people would give us the option to either keep the freebie or donate whatever money was spent on buying the freebie to a charity. Less waste! And what about the unwanted hand-me-downs? I mean, we are very fortunate if we have friends who give us stuff but sometimes it’s just not needed. Thank them for the generosity then say no! It’s okay to say no!
- Crutch clutter – things we have but probably shouldn’t. Again, I’m positive we all cling to this type of clutter. Why waste things when they can still be used? Should they be used though? Really? Let’s take socks with holes for example. If you’re not going to sew them up, toss them out. Personally, I use them to wipe down the dusty baseboards first before throwing them out. What about that t-shirt you got from a race you ran last year. Maybe you wear it to bed but you probably have 10 more other race t-shirts that you can just donate.
- Aspirational clutter – items you aspire to use but haven’t gotten around to yet. So you bought a book on how to knit…10 years ago. I think it’s time to let it go. If you haven’t cracked it open, you probably never will. Or what about that piece of fabric because you wanted to learn to sew and make curtains. If you don’t even have a sewing machine, well, you know what I’m going to tell you! These items are definitely hard to get rid of because most likely, these items have never been used or are in excellent condition. The best way to get them out of the house is find a friend who would be so happy to receive them and make use of it. In return, maybe they will create something for you!
- Outgrown clutter – items you used to always use, but now have no use for them. I’ve got a few examples for you.
- POGS – you used to play with them all the time but in actuality, you probably just looked at them because you didn’t know how to play with them – I don’t think you need to keep these any longer unless you plan on teaching your kids about POGS and then spending a ridiculous amount on them.
- Old phone cases – they are not a one size fits all item. If you’ve upgraded your phone, you won’t need your old cases or holders.
- Scrapbooking supplies – you tried it and didn’t like it and now you’re stuck with a lot of supplies and unfinished pages. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t continue with it. There are better things you can do with your time that you WILL like to do. Scrapbooking is not for everyone. It definitely is not for me.
- Buyer’s Remorse Clutter – I think we’ve all been here. Things are on sale or you see everyone else buying the item so it must be great or you’re in a rush and just pick stuff up and throw then in your cart or, you’re bored and you just want to spend. Problem is, by the time you get home and take things out of the bag and store them away, you being to realize… ‘WTF was I thinking’. For me, I tend to buy cheap things and then regret it later because it is such poor quality and show have spent a bit more on something that would last and work better.
Decluttering and Happiness
Decluttering makes me happy. Even when it comes to going through sentimental items. If I didn’t regularly declutter, I probably would never see some of the items of stored away. Being mindful of starting a decluttering project can actually make you feel happy. Perhaps feeling sad at first but you will definitely gain appreciation for the things you do keep.
One particular comment in Gretchen’s book was of ‘dump zones’. You know, the area that accumulates all your junk. It could be the dining room table, the kitchen counter, a chair in your bedroom, the entrance table, etc. I’m positive you know what I’m talking about and can are thinking of that exact area in your own home right now. Mine is located in the corner of my kitchen counter. It is full of random papers, letters, coupons and junk. I hate it and every time I walk by the junk zone, it gives me a slight headache. I recently went through it and it is down to an address book and some important papers. Sure, I could hide everything in my junk drawer, but it would only be out of site, not out of mind. Going through your junk zone on the regular is a good habit. I guarantee it’ll make you start the day feeling that much better not seeing the pile of crap. Just deal with it and be done with it!
Throughout all my declutter years, I have had my fair share of going through all of the types of clutter listed about. Some more than others but nonetheless, it was still clutter accumulating dust. Don’t get me wrong, I still have items that I definitely do not need but am not willing to part with just yet.
What kind of clutter do you think you have a problem dealing with in your home at the moment that you should probably tend to?