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Boost Positivity with Spring Cleaning

by Beth on March 25th, 2012

Our annual church rummage sale was this weekend and I always look forward to it because it motivates me to do spring cleaning. I go through all our closets and try to get rid of anything we don’t need. I’m always amazed at how wonderful I feel after dropping off the last load of stuff.

De-cluttering gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Having less makes it easier to find things. I no longer experience the stress of frantically looking for the bill I need to pay amongst all the paperwork on the desk or that red shirt I know is somewhere in the closet! Too much clutter makes me feel frustrated, overwhelmed and out-of-control. It also affects my ability to focus because I’m distracted when I see things I know I should organize or put away.

It appears that I’m not the only one who gets a happiness boost from clearing clutter. When I googled “clutter” together with “happiness” over 3 million articles and videos showed up! And just think about how much money people spend on gadgets to organize their closets or on magazines like Real Simple that are filled with clutter-clearing tips.

I think most of us know that getting rid of unnecessary things will make us happier. The problem is it can be really hard to do! Research by Kahneman and Tversky shows that people have loss aversion. We strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. This means that we value things even more after we buy them, which makes it extra hard to give them away. I know I’ve held the same sweater in my hands every spring telling myself I should give it away because I haven’t worn it in a year, OK maybe even 3 years. But how can I give it away when it is in such good shape? Of course, it is like new since I never wear it! It takes a lot of discipline to get rid of our things.

But now that spring is here (wait, did we even have winter?), use it as an opportunity to boost your positivity by getting rid of clutter. It doesn’t have to take up too much of your time. Start small. Try cleaning out just one drawer. I bet when you see how good it makes you feel you’ll be ready to tackle the next one. And if you need any clutter-clearing tips you can find plenty on the internet.

From → Well-being

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