With the approaching spring, comes all sorts of resolutions for decluttering those cupboards and drawers. I start out with great intentions, only to get waylaid by re-reading magazine clippings, looking through old photos, or examining various odds and ends I had forgotten all about. I usually end up replacing all but one or two items back in the drawer, neater this time, but still cluttering up my drawer space.
So I was interested to read research which explained why it is so difficult to throw things out. The more you touch things over a lifetime, but even just in the last few minutes, the more attached you grow to those things. In “The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects“, researcher James Wolf reported that the longer a person touches an object, the greater the value assigned to that item.
That is why those lifestyle shows which feature a decluttering expert will hold up the items for the owner to make a decision on whether to throw it out or not. It is more effective than having the person handle the items themselves and risk getting all sentimental again.
Now think of the last time you bought something. Perhaps it was a dress that you tried on, or a new lip gloss you tried at the make-up counter? Chances are you didn’t even know you wanted the item, but that very act of touching it and/or trying it on greatly increased the likelihood that you would buy it.
So, if you find your home cluttered by unnecessary items you have been buying and holding onto, perhaps it’s time to have a friend with no attachment to these objects come and help you with your clear-out. Above all, keep your hands off your clutter!