Totally Stuffed!

Totally Stuffed!

In my business, I hear a lot about storage. No matter how many square feet a person has, she never has enough, or at least not the right kind. A person may have a living room the size of an Opera House but no upstairs linen closet. Or there may be a walk-in linen closet, but no pantry. Or there may be a pantry but no place to put her husband’s record collection. Or there may be a media cabinet but no space for the decorative teapots she inherited from Aunt Grace. If there is any one thing that everyone thinks they need more of, it’s storage space.

Here’s a dissenting opinion: it’s not that we lack space. It’s that we have too much stuff. Getting rid of things is a lot cheaper, easier and more liberating than adding a new walk-in closet. Before you start sketching out plans for new shelving, why not start with cleaning out the shelves you have? Is your garage over-filled with broken appliances? Take them to the dump. Is your upstairs guest closet stuffed with clothes that haven’t fit you in five years? Donate them. Have you ever even taken your great-grandmother’s china platter out of the box? Sell it. Your kids outgrow the crib? Give it to your pregnant sister.

Once you control your stuff, then and only then, take a long hard, look at your storage issues. You may still want a bigger closet, but after paring down what you have, you’ll have a better sense of what actually needs to in there. Don’t be surprised if you find out you have plenty of space after all. If you have a shopping habit, limited space can be very helpful. You want that new set of dishes? That’s fine, but you’ll have to make space for them by getting rid of the ones you already have.

I’m bluntly honest with all of my clients. And I tell every single one of them to purge the unnecessary stuff long before we start picking out contractors. It’s not always warm and fuzzy, but it’s necessary.

Things can overtake us. You don’t have be a candidate for “Hoarders” to feel like overwhelmed by stuff. Make some space. It’s liberating.

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