Dear Martha Column: Too Much Stuff (as seen in the August issue of the Glebe Report)

Dear Martha,
My partner continues to order online or bring home more and more purchases but we
have so much ‘stuff’ that we now have piles everywhere because we have nowhere to
put everything. The more stuff he brings home, the more stressed I feel. Any words of
advice?
Signed,
Ready for calm
Dear Ready for calm,
You are completely correct – an excess of stuff does cause stress. Here are 3 practices
that may help from Sarah Nettleton’s book, The Simple Home – The Luxury of Enough:
(1). Look around your home and celebrate the ‘good choices’ that you have made
when bringing something into your home (i.e installing shelving in your garage or adding
a few woven baskets on a shelf in your entry hall for keys, sunglasses and masks,).
(2). Consider the elimination of non-essentials by reviewing each room’s contents
(start with the surfaces) and determine for every item if it is practical or emotional.
Practical items are kept because you need them while emotional items are kept because
they are sentimental. If an item is neither, consider letting it go (donate, sell or trash).
(3). Celebrate restraint. If you do bring something new into your home, let something
else go that you no longer need or want. Home’s only have a finite amount of space so
by applying a ‘one in one out’ rule, you will be respecting the equilibrium of your home.
“Homes that nurture us are not fortresses of exclusion, but rather clearings in a busy
world that help us to dream new ideas and to be creative in our own way.” (Sarah

Nettleton)

Dear Martha,
My home has too much stuff but how do I determine what to let go of and what to keep?
Signed,
Unsure
Dear Unsure,
Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to determine if you should keep something:
(1). Do you love it?
(2). Do you use it regularly?
(3). Is the item in working order?
(4). Do you have space for it and does it have a logical ‘place to live’ in your home?
(5). For items of clothing, determine if it still fits and if it still suits your current lifestyle.

Take a look around you and start with a junk drawer, your linen closet or your bathroom
cupboard. Ask the above five questions about each item you come across and if the
item is no longer serving you, let it go. A life well-lived is about experiences not things.

“Removing clutter makes room for a life focused on the things that matter most.
It opens up physical space in our home and mental space in our mind.” (Clear the

Clutter -Donna Smallin)



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