Originally published: News.com.au, 9 September 2019
Many Australians are struggling to declutter their homes and are feeling stressed and weighed down by old and unused items.
Despite the KonMari craze sweeping the world, a survey has found that a staggering 88 per cent of Australians still feel like their homes are being cluttered up by old and unused items.
The survey of 1000 Australians conducted by Pureprofile on behalf of MobileMuster this year, found 58 per cent felt frustrated or annoyed at themselves for holding on to things they no longer needed, and 31 per cent actually felt stressed or weighed down by these items.
“This research shows that keeping hold of things that we no longer need or use can be stressful,” Flinders University Professor of Psychology Mike Kyrios said.
“Not only does it clutter our homes, but our old things often weigh us down mentally as our things act as reminders of our former self, which can actually stop people from feeling free and living in the present.”
About 89 per cent of those surveyed said they thought getting rid of their old and unused things would make them feel happier and freer in life.
But 39 per cent struggled to let go of things because they thought the items may be useful again in the future, while 26.5 per cent kept items because they reminded them of happier times or good memories.
“We know that many people struggle to part ways with their old things because of FOMO — or a Fear Of Missed Opportunities, which often leaves us holding on to things in case we need to use them again, but in reality, we never do, and they just clutter our space,” Prof Kyrios said.
About 63 per cent also admit they have held on to an item for emotional or attachment reasons despite no longer using it.
“Psychology tells us that many of us have an inner conflict between feeling attached to our things because we have spent time using and enjoying them,” Prof Kyrios said. “We can struggle as we find it hard to detach ourselves from them.”
Even old mobile phones held emotional value for 35 per cent of those surveyed and 42.1 per cent said they struggled to let them go.
Old electronics including mobiles were the items people struggled to part with, after clothes and shoes.
Many Australians want to keep the old mobiles as a back-up but 73 per cent of those surveyed said had not used them for at least two years.
The majority of those who have got rid of an old mobile say they haven’t missed it.
MobileMuster is encouraging Australians to let their old mobiles go and has launched a partnership with Salvos Stores that will see $1 donated to the stores for every phone collected in September.
“We know that people want to let go of their old things but sometimes need a little extra motivation to help them make the final break,” MobileMuster manager Spyro Kalos said.
MobileMuster recycles 99 per cent of the material from old phones.
Australians can drop off their old phones and accessories at Salvos stores or at one of MobileMuster’s 3500 collection points across the country.
They can also be posted using a free satchel, available at Australia Post or the MobileMuster website.