You may think that those loose possessions strewn about is no big deal but how much easier would certain aspects of your life be without clutter?
Most of us have clutter. The definition of clutter is really up to you personally but for most of us clutter is made up of things we can’t decide what to do with or things that don’t have homes or designated spaces within our homes or offices. Things like stacks of old magazines, excess shoes, piles of paper, kid’s artwork and school projects, crafting supplies, sporting equipment, stuff that we didn’t feel like putting away so we just set it down. Clutter comes about because of deferred decisions. So what good would it do to declutter? Is it worth the effort to find homes for things that don’t have a designated space or edit and purge things we haven’t used, don’t want or don’t need?
• How about more mental energy? Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli causing our senses and brains to work overtime trying to make sense of what our eyes are seeing. Less visual clutter creates a pleasant and calming environment. Instead of an overstuffed bookshelf or a china hutch full of chotchies, you might find it appealing to just look at books you love or knick knacks that you think are truly beautiful or have great sentimental value.
• Another benefit would be saving money. It’s not untypical for people to run out and buy something that they think they own but can’t easily find. Searching is frustrating so they find it easier to just buy another one. It’s not the worst thing to have multiples of some things like scissors but spending money on replacements can easily add up.
• Decluttering frees up space for new goals or endeavors. You may have tried a hobby or started a project and then your interest petered out. The hobby wasn’t as interesting as you thought it would be or the project took up too much time or was too complicated. Hanging on to the accompanying supplies thinking that you’ll finish the project someday or take up the hobby again is probably just guilty feelings tricking you. Accept that it didn’t work out and let go of the stuff, give yourself a chance to embrace a new pastime.
• When you have less clutter to work around, it’s easier to clean and therefore your environment becomes healthier especially if you have allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments. Picking up piles off of the floor to vacuum, trying to dust around knick knacks and wiping down a kitchen counter that’s loaded with small appliances is a lot of extra work so no wonder we’re not enthused about cleaning at all. If you pay for a cleaning service, you’re probably paying them more because it takes them longer to clean around your excess stuff. There’s that idea of saving money again. Decluttering also improves safety as there are fewer obstacles to maneuver and therefore less tripping and falling, this is especially important for seniors.
• When we lose clutter, we’re setting a great example for our kids. As kids grow, there will be a constant tide of toys, books, and clothes and while it’s ok to keep a few of those things as mementoes, there will have to be an awful lot of swapping things in and out to keep things under control. Teaching kids how to identify what they no longer play with or how they’ve outgrown sporting equipment and how to send those kinds of belonging that are in good shape on to new homes through donation or handing down sets them up for success in the future. You might be tempted to edit and purge when kids aren’t home because you imagine your child will be resistant to letting go but in the long run, it’s really worth it to do it with them, transferring skills as you go. They need to learn it’s not realistic to keep every single thing. Living by the idea that everything has a home and everything in its place will help young ones in contributing to the household overall. When everyone in the home knows where things belong, it’s easier to put things away instead of just putting things down.
• Maybe we can help others who could use our excess by clearing out the garage, attic and other storage spots? Donating to charities feels good and it may provide an inexpensive opportunity for someone who couldn’t afford to buy something brand new. Even putting something that is in good shape by the road with a free sign can benefit someone else and it’s a pleasure to hear a vehicle stop, pick up your freebie and lighten your load. Just try to remember that your donations should be gifts, not curses. No one wants 25 year old Tupperware, anything broken or missing parts or mildewed and musty books.
• I sometimes play a little game I call “The Queen is coming”. I pretend that I just got a call that some V.I.P is coming over in 10 minutes and I’ve got to make my home look as presentable as possible. However, I can’t just shove stuff into closets or shut the door to a messy room. I really have to put away things in their homes or make decisions about if they are even worthy of keeping. When we keep clutter at bay, it’s a lot easier to have impromptu guests without feeling shame or embarrassment.
• When you’re editing and purging, you’re probably going to find long lost memories in your stuff. During the decluttering process is when you discover the box of memorabilia, a hand me down or a special gift that you had forgotten about.
• Less stress, study by UCLA found that women’s cortisol (stress hormone) leves rise when surrounded by too many physical objects and cortisol dropped after leaving their homes.
• Leaving less for our inheritors to deal with.
• Easier to sell a home and for more money!