It’s weird the way that it works—it seems as if the more space we have, the more stuff we tend to accumulate. However, clutter can be a real issue.
Clutter, at its worst, can be described as hoarding—“the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.” Research shows that a link exists between hoarding and depression, and although we know that sorting through all of your stuff can be a daunting and time-consuming task, it is well worth the effort.
The Real Reasons We Hang on to Clutter
Before we get into the benefits of decluttering your home, I think it is important to understand why we hold on to stuff that we seldom need or use. Clutter is a side effect of consumerism; we are constantly seeking to meet our perceived needs by obtaining more stuff.
We are continually being bombarded with ads telling us that their product is going to make us happier, skinnier, healthier, smarter, and the list goes on.
These products come to embody our memories, hopes, and dreams, who we believe we are—or who we think we should be. Getting rid of things can be like turning the page on a chapter of life from which you're not ready to depart. It can be an admission of your failures; donating those expensive running shoes means that you've finally succumbed to the fact that maybe running is just not your thing.
Nevertheless, an ancient Chinese proverb says that if you want to change your life, you must move things in your home. With that in mind, we present to you:
5 Benefits of Decluttering Your Home
1) Removing clutter often leads to a clearer and more focused mind.
Humans tend to subconsciously create physical environments that are reflective of their inner state. Clutter is a sure sign of inner turmoil and struggle.
For example, whenever you open your closet and see a bunch of empty hangers limply hanging from your closet’s rod and pants and shirts strewn about the floor, finding the perfect outfit can become a little cumbersome. You may even reason that you have nothing to wear.
On the other hand, whenever your belongings are neatly organized, you can see what you own and can quickly and confidently select an outfit.
In a study performed by neuroscientists at Princeton University, researchers found that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased task performance and increased stress.
When your belongings are organized and neatly put in their appropriate place, it’s easier to concentrate and have a clearer, more focused mind. Clutter makes your brain multitask whether you want it to or not. Getting rid of clutter will allow you to concentrate on what is important.
2) Getting rid of non-essentials leads to enhanced physical health.
Besides having an impact on your mental health, copious amounts of clutter can also affect your physical health.
Clutter exacerbates allergies by creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew while accumulating dust, dander, and other allergens. The risk of fire and injury is also increased whenever there is too much clutter in a home.
In his book “Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight: The Six-Week Total-Life Slim Down,” Peter Walsh discusses the correlation between clutter and weight gain. He states that people who live in cluttered environments experience rising levels of stress. He asserts, “Once the stress increases, hormone levels increase. Now, the result of that is that you start to overeat.”
3) Your mood will be improved.
Clutter can put you in a bad mood. It signals to your brain that you don’t have your life together.
Tisha Morris, author of the book "Feng Shui Your Life: The Quick Guide to Decluttering Your Home and Renewing Your Life" asserts that our homes reflect our emotional state.
“[Clutter] is just stagnant energy,” she says. “Where there’s clutter in your home, there will be clutter in [you] — either physically, mentally or emotionally.”
4) Make some extra money.
They say that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Why not put that adage to test? With sites like Gumtree and eBay, you can post stuff you no longer need for people in your area to view and purchase. It’s like an online yard sale.
The money you make can go toward paying off debt or a fun family vacation.
5) Serve the greater good.
If yard sales—online or not—aren’t the thing for you, you could always donate stuff that you don’t need to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another organization. Some of them even come and pick up your donations right from your doorstep.
Regardless of your reason behind hanging on to certain items, the truth is that there are many benefits of decluttering your home. Lack of clutter will allow you to focus and concentrate more on important tasks. It will enable you to form an identity for yourself that has nothing to do with stuff. Decluttering your home will create a healthier and safer environment that both you and your family can enjoy.
About the Author