August 18, 2011

When It’s Better to Micro-Hoard. ~ Jakob Berry

How to keep clutter under control.

Micro-hoarding is a concept I came up with while traveling. Instead of lugging around tons of souvenirs from place to place or sending them back home via snail mail during my travels, I decided if I couldn’t fit it in my journal or capture it with my camera then it didn’t accompany me any further.

It was a great way to soak up the sights and focus on building lasting memories without worrying about what to do with all that stuff.

Now, in an effort to aid my house cleaning I’ve begun implementing the idea at home but with different restrictions.

We all know homes are notorious for being havens for all kinds of strange and unnecessary belongings. Even if hoarding isn’t a serious problem, clutter of some kind usually exists in some shape or form and it’s hard to keep up with it all unless there are strict rules.

That’s why I’ve decided that every once in a while I would do a sweep of my living space and if it doesn’t meet certain self imposed micro-hoarding criteria (and I’m not deeply attached to it) it goes. Some examples of the criteria, which you can adjust to your own needs, include the following:

Size limit: Make a size limit to what you allow yourself to keep. It may be a shoebox, it may be a matchbox but the point is think small and when thinking big focus on how much you can get rid of. You can even tell yourself whatever fits under the bed or in the cupboard stays. Everything else goes.

Picture it: There are so many things we keep stored away in the closet or on the shelf that we don’t truly care much about. Taking pictures of them is a good way to retain a keepsake of the objects and sometimes that’s all we need. Also, pictures usually only takes up a few megabytes on a disk and doesn’t add to the clutter.

Scan it: When it comes to documents or various papers filed away there are very few we need to keep a hard copy of. The rest can be scanned and like pictures stored away digitally — a kind of micro hoarding where there’s little trace of it around the house.

Sell it: Yes, this can be considered micro-hoarding because whatever you can sell the money goes in the bank and you no longer have to deal with the actual objects. Just try not to spend the cash on other things you really don’t need.

Finally, I want to add that micro-hoarding can get out of hand, as you can always get more external hard drives and storage devices.  That’s why it’s often better to just get rid of stuff. However, when tossing memories isn’t easy this is a safe way to get the house in order and breathe a little lighter.


Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com. He covers various home improvement topics including eco-friendly cleaning services and commercial cleaning companies.

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