We are all guilty of owning too many items, some unnecessary, many due to sentimental reasons.
Whether at home or in your office, we should all take some time to practice decluttering. Researchers using MRIs and diagnostic tools have shown that clutter affects our brain’s ability to concentrate and process information. Clutter has the same effect on our brain as multitasking, it overloads the senses, makes us feel stressed and impairs our creative thinking.
In order to improve mental health and reduce stress, I’ll give you a few pointers on how you can go about decluttering your home or office. It is easier to start at baby steps so we’ll go from one progression to another
1. Store It
Storing away old items is perhaps the easiest on those unwilling to so quickly throw or give away what is deemed as precious. There is also that Christmas tree that is only needed once a year. With rising real estate costs, storage is relatively low-cost vs renting a larger work or living space to accommodate your items. Some things are also too precious to be thrown away, we have memories. Photos, books, even furniture or a late parent/spouse’s clothing items can be stored away.
Offices should look at storing documents, e.g. financial records, old HR files and etc. These usually take up lots of space and contribute to clutter. Marketing materials, premiums and decorative items are also bulky and can be put to storage until such time it is needed.
There are options here, for those intending to do a “soft declutter”. Don’t buy new household items or clothes, re-use or re-furbish. Old furniture can be given a breath of life by furniture restorers, material from old clothes can be sewn into patchwork, and the old set of dinnerware could possibly be classic now!
3. Donate It
Do good work while decluttering! Shelters round the world are always in need of your donation of clothes, shoes, even books. Just make sure it is in good condition. Pull your friends along on your decluttering journey, do a collective donation drive. Some organisations even provide pickup services for items donated.
4. Sell It
With so many online marketplaces to choose from, e.g. Carousell, Gumtree, Shopee and Facebook groups, how about making some money to make up for the pain of parting with your beloved items? One man’s junk is always another man, or woman’s treasure. None more true than businesses who thrive selling pre-loved luxury goods.
Don’t use the new stash of cash to buy new things. How about donating it to the shelter or going on a holiday instead.
5. Throw It Away
And never look back. If you’re ready to commit to decluttering, there is no better way than to throw away! This may be the hardest step, but it is the most effective when it comes to decluttering.
Ask yourself if you’d miss the item if it weren’t in your possession, or if you would replace it if it got lost. If the answer is no, best to throw it away. Anything past the expiry date should also belong in the bin, especially food items.
Hope the above tips help your decluttering journey so you can make space for new things or a new addition to the family!
Anna Chew is Co-Founder & CEO of BEAM Space, a concierge storage combining warehousing and logistics in a mobile app. We take the pain out of storage so you don’t have to visit a stuffy warehouse or rent a truck, just whip out your smartphone! Pay for what you store, no contracts or minimums. Free pickup, prices start from as low as $4 a month.