Blog / How Decluttering Can Make You Happier
Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2018
If you find yourself anxious at the sight of your house Â full of clutter, with the floor covered in toys, plates of half-eaten food and empty cups on the coffee table, and the family’s dirty clothes trailing from the bathroom to the laundry, then maybe itâ€™s time to look at clutter. Canâ€™t fit all the stuff you own in your room, house or garage? Messy houses full of stuff you donâ€™t need will make you feel helpless and overwhelmed. If you find youâ€™re overly stressed and donâ€™t really know why, take a look around your room, your house or your office, and if it’s cluttered, thereâ€™s the reason.
Mind Over (Clutter) Matter
- Psychologists(1) agree that decluttering a room or house can ease a lot of your stress burden and make you a lot happier. Here are some of the reasons for living in a cluttered house or work environment will add to your stress or even cause it:
- When your olfactory, tactile and visual senses are faced with a barrage of clutter in a room, they have to work harder when it isnâ€™t necessary, and it draws your mind away from whatâ€™s more important to focus on.
- Itâ€™s so much harder to completely relax in a cluttered room since clutter sends constant signals to your brain that your work is never finished.
- When you canâ€™t tell how long itâ€™s going to take to get to the bottom of a pile of clutter to find something important, it causes anxiety.
- If someone dropped by your home or office, youâ€™d likely be embarrassed by the clutter and start to feel guilty, and then beat yourself up for not being organised enough.
- Most people need space to brainstorm, solve problems and think straight, but clutter inhibits this ability and affects your productivity.
- If you need to find files, keys, the remote control, or even a pen Â in a hurry, scrambling through clutter will cause frustration and stress.
We Have Far Too Much Stuff and Clutter, Ladies
Clutter can make lack focus and sends messages to your brain that the work is never finished. Despite that fact that years ago psychologist told us a messy room made kids more creative, it now seems the opposite is true. Clutter is now seen as interrupting or even blocking productivity and creativity because you canâ€™t think or brainstorm when your mind is filled with the worry of all that clutter that has to be cleared up. Â Also, cleaning up a house and decluttering will help ease your immediate stress; but, in the long term, the lifestyle pattern of motivating yourself to declutter only when the stress of it has become overwhelming means youâ€™ll live in a permanent cycle of decluttering and cluttering. It’s better to start working out ways to prevent the clutter from accumulating in the first place. Â
And of course, itâ€™s not surprising that clutter and anxiety are found more in women than men. According to a UCLA Center on Everyday Lives and Families study(2), higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are found in women living in houses full of clutter. Men living in clutter donâ€™t exhibit anywhere near the levels of cortisol as women do, possibly because women tend to associate a happy house and home with tidiness and lack of clutter.
3 Easy Steps to Declutter and Stay Cool
Everyone benefits from a less cluttered room, house, or work environment so if the whole family shares the burden of decluttering, everyone will be happier. There are three easy steps you can take to declutter and to keep your house that way.
- Start really small.
Small will mean different things to different people, but it means getting rid of at least one thing every day from even one room in the house and adding to it, but firstly train your eyes to see clutter. Many people are ‘clutter blind’ and, like most people, youâ€™ve probably got stuff lying around the house for years that you havenâ€™t used and donâ€™t need anymore. So, start in one room and throw out that pile of newspapers and magazines in the overstuffed cupboard. If you see a pen thatâ€™s been out of ink for half a century, it will be a significant first step on the road to decluttering your house, believe it or not. Another good first step is to look hard at that kitchen gadget you havenâ€™t used in years and put it into either the donate or sell on eBay pile.
- Make decluttering a habit
Most people’s lives are full of habits and things they do in the house on automatic pilot. If you can connect decluttering with a habit you have already developed, it will make it easier, and it will stick. If the first thing you do every morning when you go to the kitchen is to make a cup of tea or coffee, itâ€™s something you donâ€™t really even have to think about. If you can connect this with decluttering by clearing up any cups left from a late night snack, or just wiping down the kitchen benchtop while the kettle boils, then youâ€™ve started a decluttering habit. Then gradually add some other decluttering habits, in other rooms; maybe one item a day, and fairly soon youâ€™ll have an automatic decluttering response programmed into your brain to build on.
- Keep one clutter-free surface
If you can keep one surface free of clutter, it helps enormously. Keep at least one part of the kitchen bench clear of clutter every day, for instance. Even if the rest of the benchtop is piled with bowls and dishes, keep that half-metre portion completely clear, wiped down and decluttered. Seeing that clean, empty space will encourage you and inspire you with more energy to extend that good feeling to other rooms and the rest of the house, and eventually youâ€™ll declutter it and maintain the space, keeping your stress levels down and raising your happiness levels along with it.
Having your house cleaned professionally on a regular basis can help you to declutter. To find out more about our range of quality Melbourne house cleaning services, or to discuss how MyHome can guarantee you a brilliantly clean house, call us on 13 22 31 for a chat. Alternatively, you could send us an online enquiry or ask us for a quick quote.
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