By: Derek Beres
Nothing reminds you of how much stuff you own like moving. As someone who has lived in 11 apartments in three states over the past 15 years, I’m well aware of those unopened boxes that get carried around from place to place. It was not until we recently moved to California that my wife and I decided to open those mysterious crates and figure out what was truly necessary to us. It was, to say the least, a cathartic process.
Do You Really
Just because you may own a basement or attic does not mean you have to fill it to the brim. Yet we often we do, with the idea that the things we pack away may one day be essential to our lives. But is that really the case?
An estimated 2 to 5 percent of humans suffer from compulsive hoarding, says psychologist and hoarding specialist David Tolin, co-author of Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding. Many more also hang on to clutter in ways that are unhealthy. Once lumped into obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding now warrants its own brand of brain science. Researchers have found that hoarders emit different brain waves in their frontal lobe. This disorder can affect people on many levels, from having an overstuffed home, to suffering from depression, to overeating, to having trouble sleeping. Even for those who are not hoarders, holding on to large quantities of unnecessary stuff can raise anxiety and lower well-being.
The Art of Letting
As a longtime journalist, there are two things that I had a lot of trouble letting go of: books and music. Before my last move, I had well over 8,000 CDs and 1,000 books. And while reading and listening to music are my two favorite things to do, the increased real estate these objects were occupying was taking over my entire space. It was hard enough to navigate our New York City apartment, and my shelf space was maxed out. Here are a few tips that I found helped me get rid of what I no longer needed.
is Completely You’s Getting Unstuck blogger. A journalist, yoga instructor and DJ/music producer, he has written for such publications as Departures and The Huffington Post. He teaches yoga at Equinox Fitness and Yogis Anonymous, and is one-half of the music production team EarthRise SoundSystem. For more info, visit DerekBeres.com.
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