Outdoor portrait of pretty young girl riding bike in a forest.

“As you release things in your life that you do not love, that no longer serve you or that do not represent you at your best, you reclaim life force energy for new passions and pursuits.” – Mindful Decluttering by Pam Holland

I truly decluttered for the first time when I was in college. I’d gone through my things regularly as a child, but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I did a big purge. I had struggled with feeling stuck about my stuff for months – I felt fidgety, almost claustrophobic.

It seemed ridiculous that one person in her early twenties (me) had boxes upon boxes to move in and out of dorms every year. Not to mention all the stuff that never left my parents’ house! Even though most of my stuff was “out of sight, out of mind,” it felt like it was crowding me in.

During winter break one year, I decided to DO something. I went through boxes under my bed, in the basement, in the closet. I got rid of about a third of my things – and I still had plenty!

Although most of what I purged had been stored or put away, I felt different: much lighter and more free. I still had aesthetic clutter to purge, but getting rid of all the hidden stuff made me feel great.

What is it about decluttering that’s so uplifting, even addictive? Apartment Therapy names a few reasons:

The mental-physical connection: physical clutter causes mental weight. Even stuff that can’t be seen takes up space in our minds, causing us to fret, feel beholden, or just feel heavy. It’s easy to come by stuff in our culture, and easy to store stuff that has outlived its purpose, or is broken, or is a painful reminder of the past. Even if you live in a big house and have lots of closets, holding on to stuff is a mental burden.

Moving forward: sometimes we hold on to things out of guilt, or responsibility, or nostalgia, even if we don’t love or use them. Getting rid of such items can help us stay mindfully focused on the present, rather than weighed down by the past.

Momentum: you know how when you do something once, it gets easier to do it again and again? Decluttering is like that! The second time I decluttered, I found myself ready to let go of things that I wanted to keep before. Making decluttering a regular part of my routine helps me keep things moving out the door, and keeps my space clear and open.

Ease: frankly, it’s just easier to have less stuff. There’s less to clean, repair, maintain, store, and preserve.

Now I’m somewhat of a decluttering junkie. Every few months I go through a segment of my things: papers, books, and clothes are my biggest categories. I put music on and let my mind wander as I categorize things and ponder what’s ready for a new home. After every time I do it, I feel better. I feel focused and energized, because

“Clutter weighs you down and holds you back. It can prevent you from reaching your highest potential.” – Mindful Decluttering, Pam Holland

Here’s to decluttering!

This post is from our marketing manager, Eva Jannotta. Eva is a social media marketer. She writes about careers, being, productivity, and money at Simply Put Strategies. You can also find Eva on Twitter.