Benefits of Decluttering
Untidy environments often increase stress for most people. In one study, women who described their homes with positive language had a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol than women who described their homes as cluttered or unfinished.
Still, the case for decluttering isn’t clear-cut. Another study found that, while orderly environments are more linked to healthy choices, disorderly environments promote creativity and fresh ideas. If you value creativity, you may want to allow yourself to be a little messy in certain areas of your life.
For most people, decluttering can promote productivity and improvements in mental and physical health. Benefits of decluttering include:
- Boost your mood and help improve your physical health. The ability to complete physical activity while organizing can enhance creativity by allowing the mind to wander. Letting our mind go a little as we organize our clutter can help us relax mentally while our body is staying active. The combination of the two can boost our mood because we feel less stressed about what once was clutter, and we feel accomplished after seeing the progress!
- Sharpen your focus. Clutter is very messy and chaotic, so it is no wonder that we can have a tough time focusing. When your space is de-cluttered, it is much easier to obtain a sharper focus because what you see is in a specific place. The sense of organization helps your mind to be on track to complete tasks.
- Energize you into productivity mode. When you are decluttering you are problem solving, and therefore getting things done. You gain energy from the visual accomplishments of de-cluttering. Your gained energy can also help tackle other items on your to-do list!
- Relieve anxiety. When things are not organized or clean, it can often bring vast amounts of anxiety. You may feel constantly stressed, worried, or afraid of more clutter accumulating. To allow our minds to find some peace, decluttering can lift that weight and help us to think clearer and feel calmer.
- Higher self-esteem. When you have trouble staying organized, you may feel out of control. Improving your living space can restore feelings of competency and pride.
- Better relationships. Conflict with family or roommates often occurs when one person can’t control clutter. Also, you may be more comfortable inviting friends into your home when it’s tidy.
- Lower risk of asthma and allergies. You may think your house is messy but not dirty. But it’s hard to clean around piles of belongings. Decluttering can prevent pests and reduce dust, mold, and mildew, which may trigger asthma and allergies.
- Improved lifestyle and well-being. It’s easier to prepare healthy meals in an orderly kitchen. And most people sleep better in a neat room with a tidy bed.
Clutter can be overwhelming, but it can be removed or organized. One of my favorite strategies to control the clutter in my home is to incorporate decluttering into my every day or weekly routine. We implement a “ten-second tidy” each day to keep our everyday mess manageable and prevent clutter-induced overwhelm or anxiety.
Tips for Decluttering Your Spaces
You’ll enjoy the mental health benefits of decluttering more if you make the process low-stress. Use these tips for decluttering:
- Start small! You do not need to declutter and clean everything at once. Think of one small area that you can go through each day. For example, today I will go through the bottom half of my closet and tomorrow I will go through one of my junk drawers. In a matter of weeks, you will notice a major difference in how organized you feel. It is important that we start small because when we don’t, it can be very difficult to find a starting point. Consider making a list of all the areas in your home that need to be de-cluttered and tackle one space each week.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you. If you find it difficult to start on your own, you can always invite others to either help you or just be there to keep you company. It can be difficult to ask, but most people are more than willing to help. Especially if you have a major project— the more help you have, the more you will feel that this project is accomplishable. Sometimes we need outside support!
- Always begin cleaning with a positive mind. There is no right way to declutter because we all have different needs. Put your mind into a state that will allow you to freely wander as you straighten up and organize. Know that once you do something and see that it is good enough, it is good enough. Shift your focus from perfectionism to simply fulfilling the action. Practice a positive mind with deep breathing and positive thoughts towards yourself, what you’re about to do, and then what you accomplish.
- Don’t strive for perfection. There’s no need to hide items that you use a lot. Also, try not to judge your spaces against those of other people.
Difficulties With Decluttering
Getting rid of possessions can be hard for anyone, especially as we get older. Here are some things to be mindful of when it comes to clutterers and decluttering: