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clutter image via Shutterstock

Want to declutter your home? Good timing, because Oxfam wants your stuff

Therapist Brenda Stack says getting rid of your clutter can be good for your mental and emotional wellbeing – not just for creating more space in your home.

TODAY IS NATIONAL Declutter Day and Oxfam Ireland wants all those things you’ve been meaning to get rid of for months.

The event is running for the third year in a row and encourages people in Ireland to dedicate one day a year to clearing their clutter and giving it to charity.

Therapist Brenda Stack is on a mission to get everyone in Ireland decluttering their lives, as she works to create awareness about the holistic benefits of living clutter-free, not just in terms of physical space but also mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Decluttering is a therapeutic exercise that brings many short and long-term gains,” she said. “Clutter is anything physical, mental or emotional that doesn’t serve us or make us feel good. By letting go of anything that doesn’t enhance our life, decluttering helps us to make room for better things.”

It reduces stress and makes us feel happier and in control – I hear the words ‘freedom’ and ‘relief’ a lot. Giving to charity is also a feel-good exercise and a great way to extend the life of our unwanted possessions.

This year, she shared her five blocks to successful decluttering to help the nation get started:

  • Overwhelm. Uncertainty around how or where to start can keep us stuck in procrastination. Decluttering is a process that requires planning and preparation.
  • Lack of self-belief. If we feel we’re not naturally organised we can find it hard to imagine ever becoming clutter-free. Just like learning to drive a car, we learn the skill of decluttering.
  • Sadness. Our feelings or loss or trauma connected to physical items can sometimes keep us from clearing out. Although difficult, it is important to adopt a healthy attitude to change so we can move forward in the best possible way.
  • Guilt and shame. Physical clutter is a tangible reminder of the money we feel we’ve wasted or the mistakes we think we’ve made. Guilt and shame don’t tend to encourage positive action, so it’s best to let them go.
  • Lack of awareness of benefits. Old stereotypical associations with lack and deprivation can keep us from recognising our need to declutter. Less really is more, and decluttering offers countless benefits in every aspect of our lives.

“I’ve never yet met a person who didn’t feel less stressed and less overwhelmed after decluttering,” Stack said.

Oxfam Ireland’s head of trading, Michael McIlwaine said the charity is delighted to be taking part in this year’s National Declutter Day.

Decluttering your home will not only help you but, by donating to your local Oxfam shop, you’ll be helping people affected by severe poverty across the world. €8 raised by that shirt you no longer wear could help purify around 2,000 litres of water, making it safe to drink for South Sudanese families living in makeshift camps – people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and now facing a major food crisis.

Oxfam is not the only charity partner in National Declutter Day. You can also donate your unwanted items to the Irish Cancer Society, Gorta – Self Help Africa, Enable Ireland and Debra Ireland for their stores.

Read: Irish men hoard more stuff than Irish women, says survey>

Read: Soon, you could have just one charger for all your devices>

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