Are You Drowning in Stuff?

stuff and clutter cause anxiety

Do you feel as if your office or your home needs to go on a severe diet from being over-stuffed? Do you feel overwhelmed with clutter? I am living in that reality, right now. I can make the excuse that I live in a hundred-year-old house with fewer closets or cabinets for storage. I could say I remained so busy with my practice during lockdown and the first and second waves of the pandemic that I didn’t have time to deal with everything. I could go on giving reasons until next Flag Day.

In January of 2020, I wrote about the added benefits of downsizing and decluttering. All those suggestions still hold. However, after almost two years of dealing with the effects and fallout of the pandemic, you might find yourself in a different place. I certainly am.

I did begin to weed out some of my closets and cabinets. Following my recommendation, I had told myself to act as though we were moving house on December 31, 2020. As the pandemic dragged on into 2021, I realized how far I was from the goal of getting my house organized and unstuffed. I kept thinking, “When the pandemic is over, I might need this…”

I now find myself holding onto all kinds of things, unsure if I will want them when/if life settles back into a version of a normal I recognize. It’s a tough place. Other folks I know also share this sentiment. We know clutter causes anxiety and raises our cortisol levels, increasing our feeling of stress.

At the same time, the uncertainty of this raging illness and the intensity of the current world events which dominate the news have just about pushed me to drastic action: a wholesale purge of stuff. I wonder in part if I have simply reached an age (sixty-two) when I want to lighten my life and live with less, no matter what is happening outside my little house, or if I am worn out from waiting, hoping, praying life would return to some recognizable version of what is now called, Before Times. 

I think of how I felt when my husband and I went on our first vacation after months of isolation in one place. For two weeks we easily survived having fewer options of what to wear. And, our hotel room was devoid of all clutter. Was it the vacation or the minimalistic room that made me feel so unencumbered? While I was happy to return home to more clothing choices and my own bed, I felt overwhelmed by all the stuff in my house.

I have made a new pledge to myself: after the holidays, I will take my own advice and start again on the laundry room, which for a long while had stayed decluttered, but has slowly accumulated too many things. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Are you experiencing some of these same feelings? Have your earlier reorganization plans become fantasy? Do you have too much stuff and not enough space? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time…Be Vibrant!!

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