Ways to make space for a clean room and a happier you

Simone Anne Lang/File

As humans — and college students, especially — we tend to collect a lot of … stuff. Before we know it, our rooms are submerged in a sea of unnecessary objects that we’ve unintentionally held onto throughout the year(s). If you’re anything like us Cloggers, you’re starting to realize that this kind of behavior can become a bit problematic. 

The problem with hoarding? You clog (no pun intended) up space, which can result in a messier environment and a cluttered mind. 

By ridding yourself of unnecessary clutter, you create a space in which you can clear your thoughts and stretch your body. Having less stuff means worrying about less stuff! It means it will only take one hour to clean your whole room instead of the usual six. In the long run, it means less stress and a happier you!

In order to help you declutter, here are some tips from us at the Clog.

1. Ask yourself: “Do I need this?”

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This is the golden rule. Do you really need that old shirt? Do you still wear those shoes? Will you ever use last year’s notebooks again? We understand the desire to hold onto certain items. Part of that desire, however, is your instinctual lizard brain talking and not your rational and informed UC Berkeley student one. Give your notes to a friend who is taking the class, or just throw them away. Sell your clothes at Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange. Do whatever you have to do in order to clear up space for the new things in your life. 

2. Go electronic.

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Going electronic is one way to lighten your load. Heavy textbooks suck. Aching shoulders suck more. Get a Kindle or other tablet on which you can read books electronically. Sell your old textbooks so they don’t take up space. A number of locations in Berkeley, such as Ned’s Bookstore, are eager to buy your gently used textbooks.

3. Go for quality over quantity.

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Why have six pairs of crappy jeans when you can have three pairs that will last you a while? No one needs 100 pencils, so cool it on the free school supplies you’re enticed with while walking through Sproul.

4. Declutter often.

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Stuff doesn’t pile up overnight. It is a continuous process, and so is decluttering. Get rid of items you deem unnecessary whenever you can. Are there things in your desk that you don’t use or even touch? Well, throw them out! If you have roommates, try to declutter together. Make it a habit, and have fun! Less clutter means less stress and more space and time for other fun activities.

5. Ask for gifts you need.

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Be specific when friends or family want to get you gifts. Ask for gifts that are useful and don’t just take up space — such as gift cards. Or ask for gifts that you actually need — such as a new pair of socks or a nice jacket. If you’re not specific with gifts you would enjoy, you may get a nicknack of some sort, another stuffed animal or something else you don’t really want. As much as we love our families, they can always use a little help in the gift-giving department.

6. Memories are overrated.

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Nostalgia is great, but don’t let it run your life. If you don’t get rid of certain sentimental items every now and then, they’ll start to do more harm than good. If you’re really having a hard time getting rid of something because of the memories associated with it, take a picture of it. Keep the memories in your head, on your computer, on Instagram or Facebook — but not in your room.

7. Buy less.

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This may be the hardest tip of all, but one way to keep your place spacious is by buying less. Do you really need that witty coffee mug or those Freudian slippers? We’re pretty confident the answer is no. It’s that simple. So, when you’re out shopping, start getting into the habit of asking yourself the simple question we discussed earlier: “Do I really need this?” You’ll be amazed at the number of times you’re able to answer in the negative.

8. Don’t beat yourself up.

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Decluttering is not an easy process. It takes a lot of time and willpower. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult. If you really feel like you have a problem, go to one of our very own UC Berkeley counselors; they’re here to help. (And remember, the first five sessions are free!)

Sources:Keoni CabralJonas TanaBrandygarlandcannonStefano MortellaroKarl NilssonAga Slodownik,  Dan Brady under creative commons.

Contact Hopi Hernandez at [email protected].