Clear the Clutter

Writer  /  Kate Rhoten

In January, I wrote about my newfound tiny obsession – tiny homes that are less than 20 percent as large as the average sized home. In the spirit of having less space for all the stuff, I have made a conscious effort to ‘Spring Clean’ beyond the deep clean and dusting. I have taken the initiative to clear the clutter.

The recent edition of “The Minimalists” podcast discussed how to reduce chaos and stress by “living with less stuff.” The hosts are childhood friends, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They do a fabulous job of giving you insight into their viewpoint of the minimalist movement. It starts with living with less stuff. They say the average American home has 300,000 items.

I found the article that references this statistic. The Los Angeles Times ran the story, “For many people, gathering possessions is just the stuff of life,” by Mary Mac Vean. In this article from March 21, 2014, Regina Lark, professional organizer, said:

“The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards. U.S. children make up 3.7 percent of children on the planet but have 47 percent of all toys and children’s books.”

That gave me pause. Do I have that much stuff in my own home? As I looked around, I realized I didn’t want to know, but I can remove the unnecessary items. Since then, I have taken time each weekend to remove clutter or items that are not used very often.

This is a work in progress, but as I clean out closets or cabinets, I feel lighter and less stressed. Maybe it is the chaos leaving and calm settling in. Whatever the reason, I like the direction this is going.

The hardest items I will be going through in the near future will be the boxes of loose photos and albums as well as items from my father and grandfather. This is no easy task. But as I continue to sort through our household items, it gets easier.

The last four to six weeks have been good. I feel like I am making progress. Perhaps I will count all the items we own when I am done cleaning out the rest of the house. Perhaps not. I don’t think I want to know what I have left nor guesstimate the number before I started.

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