Getting rid of clutter can improve your wellbeing

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Some say there is a correlation between de-cluttering and mental health. This is about more than just ridding yourself of stuff. It’s about feeling good— and can be the key to clarity, efficiency, even empowerment. If your physical space is something of a metaphor for your headspace, think of de-cluttering as a pathway to a clearer mind (and closet).

Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally. A disorganized space signals to our brain that our work is never done. Most critically, disorganisation can leave people feeling depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, even paralysed. When you look at clutter objectively and examine the negatives of a cluttered home set against the positives of a streamlined and functional space, it is clear that taking even small steps to tame clutter can have a big impact.

Negative effects of clutter

Distraction – Physical clutter bombards our brains with excessive stimulation. You know that nagging feeling you get when you have a big assignment to complete? A disorganised space distracts us and triggers anxiety because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to find something or – literally – get to the bottom of the pile.

Relationship Strain – Think of the dining room table covered in projects or littered with toys. I’ve worked with couples who were on the brink of divorce because the state of their physical surroundings triggered so much tension, hostility, and resentment.

Decreased Productivity – Calculate the amount of time you spend looking for your credit cards, umbrellas, or car keys or how much time you’ve spent replacing everyday items that have gone missing. In addition to being a financial drain and time suck, searching for misplaced items makes you late. Taking the time to streamline your space and organize your life is practicing a very important form of self-care.

Immediate benefits of de-cluttering:

Efficiency – Rather than frantically searching for things, you can spend that time working toward a goal, relaxing with friends, or curled up with your favorite book. Being organized is the quickest shortcut I know to saving you time, energy, and money.

Clarity and Control – Imagine if everything in your home served a purpose and had a clearly designated home. Organisation enables you to efficiently find what you need and move through your day with ease.

Tranquility – Organisation equals calm. There’s a reason we leave our home to relax at a hotel on holiday. These streamlined spaces give us a visual cue that it’s time to relax. Why not create the same feeling and aesthetic in our homes?

Sustainability – When you’re disorganised, it’s easy to lose track of things. Have you ever brought home some packet spaghetti only to find that you have four packets in the back of your cupboard? When your possessions are organised, you know what you actually need. This practice will prevent waste and reduce your environmental footprint.

Actionable things you can do right now:

Start Small – Most people try to organise their entire home all at once – when that doesn’t work, they get overwhelmed and give up. Start small. Tackle a closet, a surface, even a drawer. Then stop and admire what you’ve done before figuring out your next project. If you are overwhelmed, remind yourself that a series of small wins will add up to a massive transformation over time.

Find a Place for Everything – Consider the items you frequently lose or misplace. Assign each of these items a designated home. This can be putting a small bowl by the front door for keys or a basket in your office to keep bills and mail.

Plan Ahead – Take care of your tomorrow self by prepping a day in advance. Consult your calendar so you can select your outfit ahead of time, prep meals, confirm appointments, and stock your bag with your necessities (e.g., water, healthy snacks etc.).

The truth is, you don’t have to be an “organised person” to practice the disciplines of organisation and de-cluttering. In a world where we often have little to no control, organisation offers us an opportunity to create order and tranquility in our homes and our lives. All you need to do is start.

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