It’s a moment of catalyst. Things have slowly been building, then there’s that one moment, that final push that brings you face-to-face with the fact that something needs to change.
For me, the tipping point was in 2016. I’ve written about it before. My husband got a new job and we were packing up for a big, cross-country move.
I had been feeling a little stressed. But the moment I had to start packing up the house, I felt completely overwhelmed.
It wasn’t the move. It was the stuff.
I kept looking around and thinking:How in the world am I going to organize and pack all this clutter? How did we end up with all this stuff?
All this clutter, all this mess, all these things I scarcely used, but was holding onto, “just in case”. . . I just didn’t know what to do with it.
That was when I determined I needed to declutter. I embraced minimalism. And it transformed my life.
A recent Gallup poll found that 83% of Americans are feeling overwhelmed.
It makes sense. There are so many unknowns in today’s world that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
But regardless of political or economic situations, one thing that nearly all American’s have in common, is too much stuff. We collect and hold onto stuff like no other nation in the world.
Shopping is not just a necessity. It’s now a sport, a way to bring comfort, and a form of entertainment.
Feeling blue?Let’s go buy something.
Feeling happy?Let’s go buy something.
See something pretty?One click and it’s yours.
Just add it to the collection. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by more and more stuff. Stuff you don’t use.
Stuff that is suffocating and overwhelming you.
If you love to shop, there’s nothing like the rush you get when you’ve got another ‘perfect’ pair of shoes in your cart. Or when you realize thePrime truck is stopping at your front door.
But the rush is short-lived. Every time you add to the pile of things you don’t need, you add stress to your life.
It’s not theory. It’s biology. A2010 social psychology study showed a clear connection between a cluttered home and heightened levels of cortisol—the “stress hormone.”
You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” response—that sudden surge of energy when something startles or threatens us. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your awareness is heightened as your biology gets you ready to react.
That’s cortisol. Useful for survival. Not so great when you’re trying to relax and unwind at the end of a long day. And terrible for your long-term health.
In short, your clutter is creating a constant, stress response in your body. You are biologically wired for a minimalist environment. Not all the clutter we surround ourselves with.
That overwhelming feeling also happens when we just can’t get stuff done.
You have that running to-do list, and each day it just seems to get longer. You might check off one or two items, but you get distracted and lose focus. Running from task to task, half starting, never finishing. . .
The culprit just might be your clutter. Another study out ofPrinceton University showed that being surrounded by too much stuff overloads our senses.
Overloaded senses make it hard for our brains to focus and to sort out what is most relevant to completing our current task.
In other words, when we’re surrounded by clutter, our brains can’t focus. When we can’t focus, we get overwhelmed by how much we have to do and how little we are accomplishing.
The idea of decluttering can feel overwhelming in itself.
When you are surrounded by the stuff you’ve accumulated for years. When you feel attached, even though you feel its toxic weight. . .
Where do you even start? How do you know what to get rid of?
Well, the first place to start is your mindset.
You have to start seeing your stuff for what it is. It is not connected to you. It doesn’t make you who you are.
It’s just stuff.
In fact, decluttering and embracing minimalism is incredibly empowering.
When you realize you don’t have to be controlled by the things that leave you overwhelmed and frustrated, it gives you new energy and confidence.
The most difficult part is getting started.
But once you take that first step to declutter, the second step is a little easier. Each time you tackle another pile of clutter, you take another step away from your overwhelming lifestyle, and one step closer to sanity.
Click below to get your free guide to decluttering and get started on your journey to decluttering, minimalism, and a less overwhelming lifestyle.
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