Decluttering — we’ve all done it and we always promise to do it again. “Stuff” and “things” pile up fast and after a while, we become a slave to our clutter. Its still a new year and there’s no time like the present to toss it!
There is a great deal of evidence supporting the idea that decluttering and being tidy can help us feel less stressed and more in control — things which are sorely lacking in our stressful and overloaded times. Personally, I find that cleaning and clearing does me a world of good mentally and I always feel less burdened when I get rid of clutter and give my home a good cleaning.
Too much clutter and messiness can cause anxiety and this is often compounded by daily stresses we may experience with family, work or school pressures. However, when we start organizing and putting things where they belong, even if that’s the trash, very often we start to feel more open and free. But something we often overlook is the fact that clutter doesn’t have to be all physical…
Not Just Physical Clutter
Today, we’re plagued with dramatically more clutter than our ancestors and its not just physical clutter, but also the clutter of our world…social media, loud music, incessant texts, city noise, pollution….there’s a whole lot of non-physical clutter out there. So how do we get rid of this type of clamor clutter? Well in reality, since we ourselves create much of it, we can easily escape it. Try decluttering this type of noise “stuff” by:
- Unplug: If you can, turn off your phone, tablet and TV.
- Tune out: Stop reading and watching so much news. Try signing up for a news alert service so you’re not missing anything important, but really, is consuming so much news helping, or hurting your mental health?
- Pray or meditate: Escape the noise and clutter of modern life, even if only briefly, by spending some quality alone and quiet time to pray or meditate.
“In the course of our daily lives, we’re bombarded with a barrage of visual messages, some blatantly aggressive, some subtle. The trick is to find a way to break through without adding to the clutter and the ugliness. We have to be responsible about that.” – Saul Bass
The Physical Stuff
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”. – WebMD
Of course, some people thrive in a little bit of chaos, but for those of us who need to chuck some stuff out every-once-in-a-while, decluttering and organizing can be very cathartic. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Decluttering is energizing: Cleaning out that closet or re-organizing your attic can make you feel like you’re making some headway and give you a seriously good boost of energy.
- Decluttering creates a sense of efficiency: Did you really need to keep that cracked ceramic Pig that had absolutely now emotional or monetary value? Do you really need to keep those 15 socks…that have no match and haven’t for 3 years? Getting rid of things that take up space makes us feel like we’re being efficient and moving forward in life, even if on a small scale.
- Cleaning and organizing can reduce anxiety: Looking at too much stuff or having junk constantly spilling out of our closets can create stress and anxiety — often, we pretend it doesn’t bother us, but subconsciously, it does. So just cleaning up and creating more open space helps to reduce anxiety and make us more optimistic.
“It’s human nature to take the easy route and leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter. Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things.” – Marie Kondo
When, how and even if you decide to declutter and organize is a very personal decision. Personally, I have found that tackling the messes and clutter a few times a year to be really beneficial on so many levels — not only does it make me feel better about my home, but it makes me feel energized and much more focused. So, if you’re into decluttering and organizing, use the start of the new year to get rolling into 2023 more focused and energized.