Have you been feeling frazzled and anxious lately? Maybe questioning your control on life? Are you struggling to unwind and relax? If yes, it could be that it’s time to declutter.
Clutter fuels disorganisation and can bring with it embarrassment, stress and depression. You might think that it holds sentimental value or that you spent good money, but what you collect should never hold guarantee permanence. Hold onto something you shouldn’t for too long and it will affect your mindset.
Telling your brain that you no longer need something you once deemed important is not easy. That killer pair of heels you bought are sure to suit an occasion coming up. That book could be ideal for when you finally decide to slow down and take a holiday. Honestly, we get it. There’s always an excuse not to get rid of something.
A few years ago, researchers at Yale identified that the two areas of your brain associated with pain light up when you let go of something you once held a connection with. The more emotionally or financially committed you were to the item, the bigger your pain reaction will be. But just because research says there’s a reason why we build up clutter doesn’t make it right, right?
Simply put, staying “clutter free” gives you more time to live the life you want. It allows you greater organisation which in turn leads to more time for cooking, exercising, family time, relaxing – all the things you currently believe you don’t have time for. If you haven’t used something – a textbook, exercise equipment etc – in the last 12 months it’s time to declutter. There are several steps to take to begin the process:
- Make a list of your must-have items
- Create a floor plan that’s right for you
- Go through all those boxes hidden in the garage or attic
- Start culling kitchen equipment and gadgets
- Avoid paper pileup
- Say goodbye to anything you haven’t used in the last twelve months
5 benefits of decluttering
1.More time for things that matter
When you own less and have fewer obstacles to move around, finding things and getting from A-B is easier. Remove unworn clothes from the wardrobe and suddenly getting dressed in the morning is simplified. Take unnecessary files out of your filing cabinet and instantly you have more chance of finding the files you need fast. Taking the stress out of tasks frees up time for the things that matter. It’s that simple.
2. It keeps your home clean
If you can’t see your desk or your kitchen counters are covered in cookbooks and other “dumped” items, how can you wipe them clean? If your kitchen cupboards are filled to the brim with pots and pans, plates and electrical appliances, how often are you pulling them out to check for critters and creepy crawlies? A cluttered home is an ideal home for germs and pests.
3. You’ll stress less and sleep better
Clutter comes with a lot of baggage and an overfilled wardrobe or a messy bedside table will weigh heavily on your mind. You may not realise it, but you could be taking your clutter with you to bed, making it difficult to sleep. Studies show that people who sleep in cluttered rooms are often at high risk of sleep disorders and rest disturbances. Perhaps that’s because you can’t take your eyes of the pile of junk in the corner?
4. You’ll become better with money
When you have a pile of bills – be them opened or unopened – knowing what you’ve paid for and what you haven’t becomes difficult. This can lead to late payments, which can really add up over time.
Moreover, an act of decluttering can teach you the value of mindful spending. Often you’ll find items that you’ve only used once and has never seen the light of day since. You’ll learn not to make frivolous purchases in the future and realise the value of your hard earned cash.
5. You’ll enjoy a more mindful and abundant existence
Clutter in your physical environment creates clutter in the mind. It blocks energetic flow and gets in the way of your successes. The more unused rubbish you have filling your space, the less room you have for manifesting new change. Get rid of stuff and there’s room for the abundance you seek.
Picture for a moment the vision you hold for your life. Does it seem peaceful and clear and adaptable or does it share its space with magazine racks and your late grandma’s teapot collection you actually find hideous? Go through each space in your home and picture your happy place. If there’s something you see that doesn’t fit in your vision, remove it.
Gwen Mackey is passionate about learning development, technology and family dynamics. You can follow her on Twitter.