Friends, as much as we might hate to admit it, summer is coming to a close. While that statement is less of a deal when you live in sunny Los Angeles, acknowledging little milestones during the year is also a good opportunity to take an inventory of your stuff and declutter.

We use that word — declutter — a lot around Bneato Bar. Being Professional Organizers, we live and breathe it. But today, we’re going a little deeper with the concept. It’s our job to help and make things better, so of course we tend to share a lot of ideas on how to declutter. Do not be mistaken! The most important thing to us is definitely sharing the gospel of the why and inspiring true change in the lives of others.

Since we’re getting all intellectual today, I’d like to start off with a thought from a bonafied academic, as posted earlier this year in Deseret News:

Anthony P. Graesch is an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Connecticut College and is an archaeologist — so his approach to clutter is a bit more academic than that of, say, a hoarder-exploitation reality show. He says one of the main reasons people have so many possessions is because contemporary society has many traditions and rituals to collect stuff but none to get rid of it.

This exact observation leads me back to the close of summertime, and how during summer we have so many holidays and rituals that add to our collection of things, but none to remove them. After a summer of travels, weddings and parties, the inventory of stuff acquired can add up quickly:

  • Wedding favors
  • Greeting and thank you cards from parties and birthdays
  • Travel mementos – everything from shells on the beach to key chains from a road trip
  • Random books and items from sidewalk sales and flea markets
  • Tchotchkes from theme parks
  • Artwork the kids made at summer camp
  • Unnecessary clothes & jewelry bought just because there was a great end-of-summer sale

Without setting any tradition to declutter, all of these objects together can start to resemble a large, meaningless and unused pile, each item getting lost to the next one and thus removing the personal meaning it might hold.

Next Wednesday we’ll offer some tips on how to declutter these summer mementos and get back your space, but until then, here are some nuggets of wisdom to think about this weekend about our emotional relationship with mementos. If you’re the type of person who has a hard time letting certain things go, we would genuinely would love if you spent time actively thinking about this in preparation for some of our ideas next week.

  • Having a sense of history in a home is one thing, making it a temple of nostalgia is another. (via The Emotional Toll of Clutter)
  • There is such a thing as “too much to remember” and you cannot possibly recall it all, so allow yourself some forgetfulness and learn to appreciate the freedom in that. (via WikiHow)
  • “When you receive a present,” says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, the founder of Apartment Therapy, “your duty is to receive it and thank the giver — not to keep the gift forever.”
  • Consider a term used in behavioral economics called the Endowment Effect, which is the concept that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them. Researchers believe the endowment effect has biological roots; deep in the brain, it feels worse to lose something than it feels good to gain something.
  • In 1936, the American scholar Richard Gregg coined the term “voluntary simplicity” to describe a lifestyle purged of the inessential. It’s been practiced by luminaries from Tolstoy to Henry David Thoreau to Gary Snyder.

Has anything resonated with you here? Are there other things that you or your family collects over the summer that is wearing you down? Feel free to leave a comment or even a question if you’re having a hard time identifying your emotional clutter. 

Bneato Bar JoyAbout this blog: Joy. We want your life to be full of it. That’s why each Friday at Bneato Bar we write about ways to add more of it to your life. At the end of the day, it’s why we do what we do.

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  1. Pingback: making room for you first, your stuff second | Bneato Bar

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