We all tend to accumulate things that we do not need, whether in drawers, cabinets, or simply in any free corner of the house.
Although this habit does not pose any danger to the naked eye, different studies have found that, in the long run, a crowded home can cause stress and discomfort. Learn here why we tend to accumulate things that we do not need and how to get rid of them.
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that when we talk about accumulating things we are not referring to compulsive accumulation disorder, a condition that has its own psychiatric diagnosis.
In those cases, compulsive hoarding can cause from family conflict, loneliness, or social isolation, to an increased risk of injuries, falls and even fires.
That the accumulation of things does not affect mobility at home or interfere with daily activities, such as cooking, cleaning or sleeping, does not mean that it has no consequences.
As shown by different studies, such as those published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology or in Personality and Social Psychology BulletinThose who live in cluttered, disorganized, or dirty homes are more likely to start the day feeling burdened, having trouble concentrating, or underperforming.
The accumulation can also induce certain physiological responses, such as increased levels of cortisol (known as the stress hormone).
Why do we accumulate things?
There are many factors that can contribute to accumulating things at home. One of them is to buy more than we need because it is on sale, we fear that it will be in short supply or to avoid repeated trips to the store.
Another determining factor is material attachment, that is, the emotional bond that develops towards an object because it causes a feeling of happiness or security.
Although in both cases what is sought with accumulation is tranquility and well-being, experts point out that the opposite ends up happening, since these habits cause dependency.
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In a work published in Consumption Markets & Culture, authors Russell W. Belk, Joon Yong Seo, and Eric Li pointed out that the accumulation of possessions is a common phenomenon in a prosperous society, for example, that of the United States.
Under the idea that “more is better” many people legitimize the acquisition of more and more things. This can eventually lead to a dramatic accumulation of objects that makes it difficult to organize the home, and creates new burdens, such as caring for, maintaining, storing and, ultimately, dealing with the detachment of those objects.
Another answer to the why of hoarding can be found in procrastination. This is the action or habit of delaying activities or situations that must be addressed.
A study published in Current Psychology, found an important relationship between procrastination and hoarding problems in all age groups.
According to the authors, procrastination is closely linked to hoarding, because ordering objects and discarding others is a task that many consider unpleasant and try to avoid.
Tips for getting rid of things
Material attachment can occur with different levels of intensity and respond to different causes, so in some cases getting rid of the things we accumulate is a real challenge.
Fortunately, there are tips from professionals that can help you. First of all, take advantage of the impulses, if at some point it crosses your head that maybe you don’t need to keep saving that thing, get rid of it at that precise moment.
Guilt may be with you for a couple of minutes after you have made the decision, but it will eventually disappear, as well as what was occupying a place in your room.
It is also useful to establish a list of things that you can have organized by different categories, such as quantity, so you will have to discard something when you exceed the agreed number, or functionality, that is, when what you have at home is no longer good for anything, it will be time to leave.
Jane Brody, the personal health columnist for The New York Times, explains in a post that a good way to start getting rid of the stuff you hoard is by making a plan.
You should start by differentiating the things that you accumulate, for example, in categories (coats, shoes, or papers), rooms in which they are, or simply places that they occupy in the house.
Organizing yourself in this way will make it easier to get to the bottom of discarding unnecessary items. The important thing is that once you start to get rid of things that are in one of those categories, you are done, you should not be left halfway.
Brody also explains that you need to set “reasonable goals based on the time and stamina you have. If an entire closet is too intimidating, even a task as small as cleaning items from a single drawer or shelf can get you started in the right direction. “
In case your accumulation is due to saving for others, consider giving them a deadline to pick up their things.
Asking a friend, family member, and even an advisor for help is also a good way to start detaching yourself from what you don’t need.
Belk, Yong Seo and Li concluded that “the help of professional organizers is becoming a common phenomenon, such as hiring an interior designer for home decoration.”
Professional organizers not only help tidy up homes, they also relieve people of the frustration and panic that cluttered or cluttered surfaces in the home cause.
According to the authors “a professional organizer helps his clients to throw away the past and rebuild a new, simplified and orderly life”.
Something that can also help detach yourself from objects is to start with small periodic discards: papers, notes, diaries, or bills. Everything can help make it easier for you to detach yourself from bigger or more important things in the future.
While getting rid of what you have is important, you should not forget that the spaces you emptied can be filled again. To avoid this problem, before buying anything ask yourself a couple of questions, do I really need this? How will it look at home? Where can i put it?
Remember, while making these decisions can be difficult, certain events or times of the year work as ideal kicks. The beginning of a new year, without going any further, may be what you need to start getting rid of all those things that you no longer need.