|photo courtesy of Magnolia Home|
Imagine your dream home.
Walk up to the front door. Open it, step inside, and look around. What do you see?
Maybe you picture one of those HGTV makeovers. The "after" reveals are beautiful, but notice what's missing: no piles of magazines on the coffee table, no unfinished quilting projects taking over the guest room since last November, no unmade beds, no toys scattered dangerously over the floor. The refrigerator door is clear of magnets and the dining table is set for a beautiful meal, not covered with a backpack, keys, sunglasses, a jar of peanut butter, cat toys, and the TV remote.
What makes those rooms beautiful is the lack of clutter, the soothing colors and comfortable design, and the sense that they're ready and open for life to take place. They don't have piles of mail, laundry, dirty dishes, unfinished repairs, or stuff that needs to be cleared away before you can use a counter or sit on the couch. They're a game ready to be played, a canvas ready to be painted.
People love the "after" look because they'd like to live that way for real, all the time.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to get started with the sometimes tedious job of reducing the amount of stuff we've accumulated over the years. As much as we might want to live with only the things that "spark joy," that also means we have to deal with all of the things that don't, things we don't really want or need, things that weigh us down and make us feel stressed or unhappy.
Minimalism sounds attractive, but maybe you want to know "What's in it for me?" Maybe some of these statistics will help you find your "why."
1. According to the American Cleaning Institute, getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework.
It only makes sense. Without clutter, tables and counters are easier to clean. There are far fewer items to dust. Not only is it quicker to sweep or vacuum, but you can do a more thorough job. Without fussy or multi-layer drapes, it's easier to clean the windows. It's simple to put things away because there's plenty of storage space. Less stuff equals less cleaning; it's as simple as that.
2. The National Association of Professional Organizers reports that we spend up to a year of our lives looking for misplaced items.
That's tens of thousands of hours searching for phones, keys, sunglasses, the other shoe, and important papers. And it's not just time that we lose, but peace of mind and possibly our tempers as well.
3. According to Harris Interactive, 23% of adults admit to paying bills late because they lose them.
Think of the late fees! And late fees on a credit card bill can result in a higher interest rate and a lower credit score as well. Decluttering can save money as well as reducing anxiety and stress.
4. The US Department of Energy reports that 25% of Americans with two-car garages have so much stuff in them that they can't park a car.
I personally hate the look of a car-choked residential street. Here in California that statistic may be even higher, because it seems that almost no one parks a car in their garage.
5. In spite of clutter in their garages, 1 in 11 American households rent additional storage space.
There are more self-storage facilities than there are high schools. There are more self-storage facilities than there are McDonald's and Starbucks locations combined. The self-storage industry made $32.7 billion in 2016, nearly three times Hollywood's gross box office earnings. And it's grown at over 7% every year since 2012.
6. According to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, 80% of the items we own are never used.
And neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that physical clutter in our surroundings reduces our ability to focus, making it harder to do well at anything, from work to relationships.
Imagine how our lives would improve if we only kept the things we use! Imagine how much time, energy, and money we would save, and in what other more fulfilling ways we might use those finite resources.
So, do you want your dream home?
You can get it for free when you declutter and then create habits to keep it that way. Your home will be more spacious, more attractive, and filled only with the things you love and use. Minimalism will allow you to experience the home of your dreams.