We know what you’re thinking; another article about decluttering. Isn’t the internet starting to look a little, shall we say, cluttered with articles on the streamlining practice.
But we could argue that such pieces are necessary, as the vast majority of the UK population have found themselves looking around their home and contemplating, ”How have I collected so much… stuff?!”
It’s only natural to pick up more possessions than we know what to do with as we go through life: trinkets from favourite holidays, toys and books when kids arrive, any number of hobbies started and not committed to…
But if you find things getting on top of you, then it can start to have an impact on your wider life, both physically and mentally, and as such, it’s important to take the appropriate action when the burden of clutter begins to weigh heavy.
Here, we’ll take a look at how a cluttered home can affect you, as well as offering some steps you can take to improve the situation.
What Effect Does Clutter Have On Your Wellbeing?
A 2016 study in the United States found a clear correlation between a cluttered home and the subjects’ own mental well-being.
The study’s professor Joseph Ferrari says that focusing on personal relationships over personal possessions is the key to a happier life and clutter can block this.
In an article published in 2019, he told the BBC: “Clutter is not a good thing. We are living in this society where our wants become needs.’
‘What we need to do is let go of things. I tell people, do not collect relics, collect relationships.” We couldn’t agree more.
Tidy Home, Tidy Mind
Perhaps the biggest benefit that comes from a de-clutter is the additional space. Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, it’s a cliche. But we’ll say it nonetheless; ‘tidy home, tidy mind’. Indeed, the minimalist approach feels like it frees up the mind of clutter, too.
With more space to move freely, they’ll be less things to bump into and less distractions – a particular bonus if you work from home and are suffering from a dip in productivity.
The Physical Benefits Of A Good Declutter
Of course, the benefits of decluttering don’t only exist in the mind. There are physical advantages to living in a streamlined space, too.
Aside from the obvious elimination of trip hazards from around the home, decluttering can also reduce the risk of pests and bugs finding a safe place to nest in your property, as well as reducing mould and mildew, which can trigger allergies.
Then, as Web MD posits, it’s easier to prepare sanitary, healthy food in a clean, uncluttered kitchen, and potentially more comfortable to sleep in a tidy bedroom. What’s not to love?
Indeed, the benefits of a good night’s sleep are well-documented, with a restful eight hours helping us approach the following day more productively.
A cluttered bedroom and messy bed could prevent you from getting your fill of snoozing, so it’s easy to see how the two go hand in hand.
How To Start Decluttering Your Home
So we’ve covered the ‘why’, now what about the ‘how’?
- Get in the right mindset: You need to be sure that you are decluttering for the right reasons. Remember, part of this process will see you let go of things that you have previously deemed indispensable to your life. This means celebrating your ruthless streak whilst simultaneously managing to avoid adopting a careless mentality to your possessions.
- Make plans for unwanted things: Whether you plan a garage sale, a Depop obsession, or would rather contact a local pawnbroker to get their best rates, having a destination for everything in the ‘no’ pile will make it easier for you to go through with parting with these items when it comes to clearing out the clutter. This also represents a more sustainable way of doing things than simply contributing half of your home to landfill.
- Keep Things Sustainable: Speaking of sustainability, simply commiting items to landfill in the name of a clearout, in the current climate, can feel pretty callous and irresponsible.
Instead, embrace what some have coined a ‘circular’ attitude to goods, and donate anything and everything you can to a charity shop or sell it on at a carboot sale. In doing so, you’ll reduce the demand for new stuff.
- Set a time limit for decisions: Go through things methodically, judging items on their individual merits. However, don’t agonise over it. If you haven’t said yes within a certain timeframe – say five minutes – then it can’t be that important…
- Create ‘clutter-free’ zones: Once you’ve completed your clear-out, it’s vital to put processes in place to help maintain your new clutter-free life. Were certain surfaces, worktops or tables clutter magnets in the past? Make them clutter-free zones and concoct forfeits for anyone in your home that breaks the rules…
Hey, we never said this thing would be easy, after all!
And whilst you’re here, streamlining your life in a sensible, sustainable way, check out these tips on how to start afresh in 2022 without abandoning everything.