spin-toy-804322_640What is it about summertime that makes the indoors feel so cluttered and closed-in?

Is it the heat, the humidity, the kids being out of school? Or maybe it's the season's special way of telling us to get the heck outside.

And so we do. But--eventually--we have to come back in and deal.

Blame the air temperature or the mob of kids underfoot if you want but, at the end (or beginning or middle) of the day, the reality of clutter is a real drag.

Having to dig through a laundry pile the size of a small car each morning in search of that elusive sock--or realizing that the sink (or dishwasher) is completely full and you still have enough dishes to last for days--is a sure sign that you simply have too much stuff.

But what is there to be done? Surely we must need all these clothes or dishes or toys or...maybe we don't.

Maybe, just maybe, the space occupied by all this "stuff" that we hang on to is more than just physical, perhaps its weight--and presence--is a mental one too.

Let's be clear, no one is suggesting you pare down your belongings to a carefully counted two-digit number (unless you want to, that is). But taking a few pages from the minimalist's book might set you on the road to a less cluttered mind. Oh ya, and a more pleasant living space.

It feels good to get rid of stuff. Seriously, it does.

Try it--sell something, or give it away or recycle it. Better yet, try it with ten things, or twenty. There's a good chance you will experience a thrilling sense of light and airy joy when you do, you may even feel as though you have finally thrown a heavy yoke from your shoulders after a long journey and you are frolicking on a grassy hillside in the sun.

Be careful, it may become addicting. Soon you might find yourself feverishly hunting around the house for things to get rid of. Just go with it, there's a whole new world of clear surfaces and organized drawers in your future.

It frees up your time and energy. This might not make sense at first but here it is: stuff needs to be managed--it needs to be washed, rearranged and cared for. This, of course, takes time.

Think about this-- what if you had half as much laundry to wash and fold every week, half as many toys and books to organize and pick up, half as many dishes to stack, wash and put away? How much time would have left over to play with kids or read a book or lay on the floor and look at the ceiling fan?

The answer is quite a bit. As crazy as it sounds, material belongings take more than just our money--they take our time, attention and energy away from more important things--from the real, actual lives we want to be living.

So, the next time you feel like you're drowning in clutter and stuff, look around, there's a good chance you actually are. Then, go make a pile--or three--and start lightening your load. You'll be so glad you did.