Want to Love the Home You’re In? Purge Your Stuff!

Wouldn’t it be amazing to love the home you’re in right this minute? In his new book, The Minimalist Home, Joshua Becker explains how getting rid of the excess clutter does more than simply create a more inviting living space. He claims it will turn your your home—your life’s HQ, as he likes to call it—into a launching pad for a more fulfilling and productive life.

As someone who ‘launched’ myself headlong into the lifestyle some years ago, I can attest to this being true. Decluttering is merely a catalyst. It’s a portal, if you will, into an infinitely more rewarding way of being.

Most people know inherently that less is more, that without all the excess they’d be happier and less stressed. Yet they still find it difficult to let go of the things weighing them down.

In a recent study, researchers polled more than 1,000 people to find out more about their homes and belongings. Their findings were in keeping with what we know already. We own too much stuff, to the point that we don’t even know what’s in our homes.

Takes this stat for example: 47 percent of people found an item from 1980 or earlier when they last cleaned their homes. Ironically, almost everyone polled felt embarrassed about the state of their homes.

Why Can’t We Just Let Go?

What compels people to hold on to items they no longer use? The study’s participants cited a variety of reasons, the most popular being “I might need it.” Not far behind were “It was expensive,” and, “It brings back good memories.”

We humans have the tendency to overvalue the things we own, so we need to take the time to honestly evaluate our belongings. Organizing your stuff won’t improve your life. For that to happen you need to purge your stuff.

But First, a Change in Identity

Maybe you’re on board with this idea of purging. Perhaps you’ve already loaded everything up and taken it to Goodwill. Your house feels spacious and uncluttered. That’s amazing.

Unfortunately, if you don’t also change your identity, you’re more than likely going to slip right back into your old packrat ways.

In his new book Atomic Habits, James Clear makes a valid distinction. He says, “Habits are the way you embody identity. True behavior change is really identity change.”

In other words, purging your stuff alone won’t solve the problem. In order to break the cycle of clutter, you first need to see yourself as someone who is organized and doesn’t just thoughtlessly accumulate stuff.

No Need to Purge Everything

purge your stuff

I’m not suggesting you purge everything that doesn’t fit into your backpack. There’s something to be said for a little nostalgia; we’re human after all. Just keep in mind that the best memories are made, not bought.

Experiences with the people we love are what hold the most value. They’re what we remember and talk about for years to come. They’re hard to come by when you’re weighed down by your possessions.

Our stuff comes at a price. It can keep us in debt, cost us our leisure time, stress us out and cause friction in an otherwise happy relationship. Nobody is suggesting you live in a tiny house with one cup and no television.

But how about a smaller house with just one television? A lower mortgage and less space space to clean equals more time and money for adventure and fun. Makes you want to purge a little, doesn’t it?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

60 comments

Vincent T
Vincent T9 days ago

thank you for sharing

SEND
B B
B B14 days ago

When I feel stuck in a rut, the first thing I do is go through my belongings and donate to a thrift store. I do not own as much as I did years ago and live in a much smaller dwelling. If it does not bring me joy, I give it away.

SEND
Richard B
Richard B16 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Barb S
Barb Stuckel17 days ago

Great article. There is so much data to support the need to declutter. I am a packrat that thinks I might need something but I am so unorganized that I buy a new one anyway and then that gets lost in the shuffle. Thanks!

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y21 days ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y21 days ago

thanks

SEND
John J
John J21 days ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
John J
John J21 days ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Naomi D
Naomi D22 days ago

Thank you. I agree

SEND
Anna R
Anna R22 days ago

Thank you

SEND