Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't like clutter. It gives me anxiety. Fills me with stress. I can't stand a mess. In order to feel good, I need to live clutter free.
This is super hard to accomplish in a family of four. Stuff is always being brought into our lives. I buy stuff. The kids buy stuff. The kids make stuff. People give us stuff. Occasions such a birthdays and holidays bring more stuff. These occasions cause me huge anxiety. Where will I put all the stuff? What can we get rid of to make more room? Our house is not made of elastic. It cannot stretch like a rubber band. There is only so much room. And I am the only one who deals with it all. Bring it home, find somewhere to put it, maybe use it, take it somewhere to have it reused or recyclyed - this is the cycle of clutter in my life.
Granted, we try to buy second hand as often as we can, but this still brings so much stuff into our lives. I figure that we bring in at least a few bags of things into our house every week (not including food). The battle, for me, is to make sure that just as much leaves, and not through the garbage can. This requires a lot of time and fore thought.
During the warmer months I don't notice clutter as much because we spend so much of our time outside, but once I come in for the colder winter months, I start to feel suffocated by the clutter in my life. Winter is a great time to clear the clutter.
Being stuck inside is hard during the winter and I begin to notice clutter piling up in my life. It is both the physical junk and the mental as well. The dark days of winter allow us to do a lot of reflection and to take action on things that we have been inactive about in the busy months of summer. Now is the time to clear the clutter from our lives.
The kids and I spend a great deal of time in the winter cleaning out our physical space. We donate to the thrift stores, we give things to friends, take things to the consignment store, and we sell things on the buy and sell. We donate gently used books and DVD's to the local library. We try to reduce, reuse, and recycle. A few boxes and bags a week leave our house.
I also work at de-cluttering my mental space during the winter. Long walks, bright sunshine filled days, snuggles by the fire, running on my treadmill are all ways I work at making my mental state healthier during the winter months. It is so important to keeping my stress and anxiety in check.
I also worry about clutter and the environment. We only have 11 years to meet climate change goals. Buying into a consumable economy creates so much junk in our physical environment and causes me so much more stress. As a society, we need to buy less, consume less in order to clean-up our environment.