Jul 4, 2017

Decluttering is a difficult thing to do. I, for example, have three drawers in my bedroom full of letters and cards from high school, bus tickets, empty boxes of chocolates, and other items I can do without. However, I still keep them because I associate certain memories with them.

If you’re like me, there is a simple technique to help you get rid of clutter.

According to a study, photographing an unnecessary object with sentimental value helps a person let go of it. Rebecca Reczek, co-author of the study and associate professor at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, says that doing so makes people feel that they still keep a valuable memory even when the object is thrown away.


Taking a photo of your sentimental clutter can help you let go of an object easier.

“What people really don’t want to give up is the memories associated with the item,” she says. “We found that people are more willing to give up these possessions if we offer them a way to keep the memory and the identity associated with that memory.”

The study was conducted with 797 students at Penn State. The researchers asked one group to take a photo of their sentimental clutter before donating and another to simply donate their sentimental clutter. Those who were asked to take a photo were more likely to donate their clutter than those who weren’t asked to do so.

Although memory preservation can help us free our drawers or desks from clutter, Reczek says that decluttering requires some training and self-control. Hoarding or clutter is not something organizing bins and boxes could fix. “It isn’t a house problem. It’s a person problem. The person needs to fundamentally change their behavior,” David F. Tolin, director of the anxiety disorders center at the Institute of Living in Hartford and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Yale told The New York Times

Memory preservation through our cellphones may help us tidy up our rooms, but remember that this preservation can also create a cloud of digital clutter. So the next time you rummage through your stuff, ask yourself, “Do I really need to keep a memory of this? Or do I even need this?” If the answer is no, then you better throw it or give it away.

Read more:
Messy spaces might just be the secret to success
Why is living in a small house good?
Living small from a stylist’s perspective



TAGS: Clean Clutter Declutter Hoarding nolisoliph Organize Tidy