Close your eyes and imagine the area around you in its most inviting and peaceful state. Maybe the lights are slightly dimmer or there’s some nice music playing. What does it smell like? Are you there alone or are others in the room with you? If I had to guess, I’d say that when looking around your pleasant environment, there is no mess or clutter to be found. That’s because mess goes hand in hand with stress. And your ideal surroundings are neither a mess or stressing you out, right? So maybe it’s time to talk about how to declutter your home!
The Link Between Stress and Clutter
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, linked higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) to people who described their homes as messy or cluttered. Interestingly, the researchers did in-home visits to monitor the connection between clutter and stress. They found that clutter led to higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is the so-called “stress hormone”. And increased stress contributes to everything from depression to a weaker immune system.
Though spring is thought to be a naturally great time to declutter, there really is never a bad time. Why? Because studies show that cleaning can:
• Strengthen your immune system
• Reduce depression, improve your mood, and help you focus better
• Help you avoid injuries (falls), asthma, and illness
• Encourage you to eat healthier and exercise more
No matter the time of year, who doesn’t want that list of benefits?
Many of us need a little help getting started with our decluttering efforts.
Here’s a list of seven tips to help you:
1. Go slow. Don’t tackle your entire house in one weekend. Remember, all the moving and cleaning is physically exhausting, but the act of letting things go also taxes us emotionally.
Plan your approach and try to do one or two rooms per day. For more cluttered areas, set aside more time. You might take a three-day weekend to do the garage.
When cleaning, work from the ceiling to the floor. And use household products to clean, like peroxide and vinegar with orange, rather than harsh and toxic chemicals.
2. Use stations. Decluttering experts suggest setting up four stations. You can use boxes, trash bags, or marked areas of a room. Label them Keep, Trash, Donate, and Store. For each item you come across, assign it to one of these stations.
3. Figure out what to keep. When deciding what to keep, ask yourself these questions:
• Do I use this item on a regular basis?
• Do these clothes still fit?
• Does this object bring me joy?
4. Donate. Donating items can be easier and more rewarding than trashing them. Knowing someone else can use and enjoy the item helps us let it go.
5. Try the six-month test. Box up items you might be reluctant to give away. Mark the box with a date in the future. Experts say six months is usually a good test. Put the box out of sight. Go back in six months and see if you’ve used or missed anything in there. If it’s out of sight, you’ll grow less attached and letting go becomes easier.
6. Go digital. Paperwork is one of the worst offenders in clutter. Consider going digital. You can scan to digitize all your important paperwork.
7. Use the “one in, two out” rule. Using the rule with clothing is a good start. For every new piece of clothing you purchase, you must get rid of two pieces. But you can also apply this to books, DVDs, shoes, and even kitchen items.
Final Thoughts on Why to Declutter Your Home
Hope these tips help you start your cleaning and decluttering routines. You don’t have to do it all at once. I do think once you get started momentum will kick in and you’ll wonder what took you so long to get started. Mark your cleaning days on the calendar. That serves as a great reminder to reap the benefits of tidying up your space.
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
- Is Intermittent Fasting For You?
- Beware of These 5 Mental Mistakes
- Five Ways to Unlock Your Fountain of Youth
- Why Sugar is Bad for Your Brain
For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.
Comments are closed.