Why Does Getting Rid of Stuff Feel So Good?
Many of us strive for a more simplified life, in which what surrounds us are things we either truly love or truly need, preferably both. To arrive at — and to maintain — such a lifestyle, we actually have to get rid of things, whether it’s in one fell swoop or in small doses. While it feels like a big mountain to climb, getting rid of things ultimately feels sooo good. Here’s why.
Physical space and mental space go hand-in-hand. Clutter is visual noise, and the disarray creeps into our mental faculties as well, so it stands to reason that clearing out our physical spaces, making room for air and light and growth, would be mirrored in our mental state as well. Just think how much better you work when your desk is cleaned off — now extend that to your life.
Separating from the past can heal us. We hang onto so many things because of the memories tied to them. When we get rid of stuff we don’t need, we have the opportunity to interact not only with our physical possessions, but with the memories and feelings they trigger. This may be negative but cathartic, as when we let go of things we’ve held onto out of fear of letting go or of not being in control. The act of getting rid of these things we no longer need may actually be painful but is nevertheless triumphant, inspiring a feeling of this has no hold on me!! as things are discarded.
Making decisions makes us strong. Think about how good you feel when you actually make a decision. When we make a decision about something, even something as small as whether to keep those curtain rods, we do gain some control, and the feeling is addicting and self-perpetuating. If you can donate years’ upon years’ worth of children’s clothes, for instance, you’re not only making room mentally and physically. You’re also empowered to tackle that next thing that’s been hanging over you or crowding your consciousness: exercising, asking your boss for a raise, copying your pictures off your phone, whatever.
Ultimately you have less stuff to deal with. This is the most obvious reward of getting rid of stuff, and most definitely not the smallest benefit. Each thing that goes out your door is one less thing you have to find a place for, organize again and again, or clean. That, my friends, is freedom and boy does it feel good!
I am still working towards this goal. It does not seem to come naturally to me for some reason so I may actually hire a pro to come in and help me with getting rid of possessions.