Looking at the purely physical side of any object we bring into the home – and for this instance, let’s consider that fancy juicer in your kitchen – there are a number of things that come to mind:
Buying that item had a financial aspect to it: of course you did not just buy any juicer, but you had to make a choice from a whole selection of them in the shop you decided to go to. Whatever you select, you’ll spend some money on the object you buy. In many cases, this transaction would even involve visiting multiple shops to compare types of juicers and prices, right? Not only does it take time to do that (it’s not something you do on the side of something else), but that time takes you away from doing something else, maybe even from doing something that makes money?
Staying with the idea of spending time and money, consider the maintenance of the new items: that juicer doesn’t clean itself, right? And have you thought about the time involved in preparing the fruit to be juiced or turned into a smoothie? It’s amazing how much time you spend to save time on your juices and smoothies! Also, home-made juices don’t come cheap either: fruit can cost a pretty penny, especially if you make juices that go beyond apples and pears!
Let’s fast forward a little: there comes a time when the idea of fresh juice in the morning and the effort involved in making it become less attractive and the juicer just sits on the countertop gathering dust and generally taking up space. Working around that item all the time takes time, and ultimately it will end up in a storage space. While we usually have some level of storage around the kitchen, assorted devices and items will eventually clog up all the available space and other storage solutions will have to be found (as we are not quite ready to let go just yet). Storage involves money, be it off-site storage rental or getting a new storage cupboard, etc.
[I’m not saying you’ll need off-site storage for your juicer, but consider unused furniture, spare parts, paperwork, etc. and you’ll easily find yourself in a position where lack of space at home or at work leads to some kind of paid storage solution!]
And that brings us to the end of our object’s life cycle in your household: at some point you might decide it’s time to let go of it. With most objects, that would mean making a choice of dumping it, giving it away or possibly selling it. Each of these options will involve a modicum of time spent, again encroaching on your 24 hours a day. Clearing a juicer may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many charities don’t accept small electrical appliances. Selling something online or finding a specialist shop ready to take it on can take a surprising amount of time.
All of the above is really just the life cycle of the item itself. Now let’s consider how it affects your daily routine while it is around in all its incarnations of being in use, being stored or in the process of letting go:
Looking at any kind of item, be it a juicer or a chest of drawers, a heavy table or a huge wardrobe you inherited from your grandmother, they all bring their own set of issues in a household, especially when their usefulness has started to expire.
For one thing, anything you own needs occasional cleaning, and especially “cleaning around it” in the case of larger objects. Consider the time you lose moving things around to properly clean. And also – let’s be honest – the number of times we did not clean behind that heavy or unwieldy item! Anything that isn’t useful or enjoys our special love can become an inconvenience over time.
Some larger items also put limits on your ability to move around your home. Just think of that bookshelf that is sitting in an inconvenient spot, full of books, but placed so that you cannot easily navigate around it. It’s there because there was no other space left at the time, and by now you are used to it, but your subconscious probably curses you each time you squeeze past with a cup of tea, having a hard time not spilling anything.
Last, but not least, think about moving stuff around your home or – worse – moving house and having pick up everything and relocate it. How much of your household has been moved once, twice or even more often without consideration that you may not have used it since the last move? Every single time you move an item (inside the house or between homes) you’ll invest some time and effort into something that is ultimately useless to you, both on a practical and an emotional level. Why do it at all?
Why not let go of those things that do not help you, but rather create additional work and anxiety? Something to think about: stay #clutteraware!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.