We’ve all heard of the term ‘decluttering’ and you’ve likely heard that you should be decluttering your home… but do you know why?
Over the last few years and thanks to the rise in the minimalist movement (and Marie Kondo), we’ve become more aware of the clutter we carry in our lives and the benefits of decluttering our home and our life.
The benefits of decluttering aren’t just ‘less things’ – there are physical benefits, mental health benefits, financial benefits and so much more.
What Is Clutter?
Before we start decluttering, it’s important to understand what clutter actually is.
Clutter is any object that has outlived its usefulness and isn’t needed anymore. Pretty simple right?
The problem with clutter is the mental block it creates for us, blocking our path to success in life because of how cluttered our mind becomes.
But… keep in mind there is a difference between clutter and mess.
Messes are things like clothes on the floor or dishes left in the sink; these are usually objects that don’t have much sentimental value but still need attention by someone who lives there (i.e. the laundry needs to be put away or the dishes need to be washed).
Clutter, however, is an accumulation of things that do not have financial, sentimental or functional value; clutter creates chaos for its owner and can negatively affect mental health because it can cause an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression.
Why Does Clutter Affect Stress And Our Health?
Clutter can be overwhelming and cause stress, but it’s not just the clutter that causes it.
Clutter is a symptom of other issues in your life. It could be about feeling out of control, which leads to anxiety and depression. Or it may be because you are constantly reminded by all the things you need to do or buy or get done.
The more cluttered your home is, the less time you have for yourself and the more stressed out you can become!
Does Decluttering Mean Less Stuff?
Decluttering your home doesn’t mean you have to have less stuff. It just means that it needs to be organized neatly and efficiently so you can find what you need easily.
If you’ve been avoiding decluttering because you believe it means you need to throw out all of the things that are important to you, then worry no more.
The best thing about decluttering is that there are no rules, you can be as simple in your steps or as detailed as you want.
How Do We Declutter?
The best way to declutter your home is to take it one step at a time and remind yourself that this is a process, not perfection.
You don’t need to declutter perfectly, you just need to make progress.
Some options to start seeing the benefits of decluttering are:
- start by removing 10 items from your home each day for 10 days
- start by focusing on one room at a time (ie; your kitchen)
- start by focusing on one area at a time (ie; your wardrobe)
Benefits Of Decluttering Your Home
Now we know a little more about decluttering, let’s dive into the benefits of decluttering your home.
Physical Health Benefits
Some of the physical health benefits include:
1 – Improve Your Sleep
Decluttering your home not only gives you the space and peace of mind necessary for better sleep (and less anxiety), but it also means there are fewer things around that could keep you up at night with their constant reminders about what needs to be done tomorrow.
It’s easy to overlook something as simple as clutter causing you to have trouble sleeping at the end of the day, but overwhelming clutter can have a profound effect on our sleep.
A quick declutter, especially of your bedroom and sleep space, can help you go to sleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep too.
2 – Better Eating Habits
Who would have thought decluttering could lead to better eating habits, but it’s true!
Clutter finds its way into many places, including our kitchens, fridge, freezer, and pantry. When our kitchen is cluttered, we are less likely to notice the healthy choices that get lost among all of the other food.
Clutter-free homes also simplify shopping by having everything in its place so you can clearly see what you have and don’t have at your disposal rather than wondering if there’s something still in the back of your fridge.
3 – Creates Positive Habits And Increases Productivity
One of the easiest ways to build positive habits and increase productivity in your life is by being intentional about what you see when you look around at your morning, day, and night.
Decluttered spaces give us a clear view of our options so we can make more conscious decisions in our lives.
Having a clutter-free home means you are less likely to fall victim to distractions and more likely to be productive in the things that matter.
4 – Reduces Allergens
The less clutter, the better off you are when it comes to reducing allergens in your home.
Over time, a cluttered home accumulates old things that have been forgotten and hardly used anymore. Dust can also accumulate on these unused items, which means dust mites!
Uncluttered homes reduce dust mites which will, in turn, reduce your allergy symptoms.
5 – Increase in Energy Levels
When our homes are cluttered, we tend to feel weighed down and exhausted.
Take a moment to imagine the following: you walk into your home after a long day of work and all you see is clutter. What kind of mood do you think that would put you in?
Most likely not a great one.
Clutter creates chaos and disorder, both of which are overwhelming and tiring.
On the other hand, when our homes are decluttered and we can see clearly what is in front of us, we feel more energetic because we aren’t bogged down by unnecessary things.
6 – Decreased Tension and Stress
This one is a biggie!
Decluttering your home can lead to a decrease in tension and stress because you are no longer overwhelmed by the things you see around you.
When our homes are cluttered, we feel constantly stressed because there is always so much to do and never enough time.
Clutter creates a sense of unease and anxiety, which is exactly the opposite of what we want in our lives.
Mental Health Benefits
Now that we know some of the physical health benefits of decluttering, let’s move on to the mental health benefits and psychological benefits of decluttering.
7 – Creates Mental Clarity
When we have too many things in our lives, we can feel overwhelmed, and sometimes this can even lead to feelings of depression.
A cluttered home makes it difficult to focus and get things done which is why so many people find themselves procrastinating and putting important things off until tomorrow (or next week).
Clutter-free homes promote clarity and focus which in turn boosts our happiness levels.
8 – Reduce Stress
I think we can all agree that a cluttered home is a stressful home. Your home should be your sanctuary, the place where you feel like you can shut off from the world and relax.
But if your home is cluttered, there are so many anchors to the outside world, and no space for your mind to just be.
Less clutter = less to worry about = less stress.
9 – Reduce Anxiety
Similar to reducing stress, decluttering your home can also help reduce anxiety.
When our homes are cluttered, we feel as though we are constantly being surrounded by things that need to be done. This can cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of overwhelm.
Clutter-free homes give us a sense of calm and peace because there is nothing around us to stress us out.
10 – Lessens Feelings Of Overwhelm
Again, similar to reducing stress and anxiety, decluttering your home can also lessen feelings of overwhelm.
When our homes are cluttered, it feels like we are constantly carrying around the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Decluttering can help us feel more in control of our lives and less overwhelmed by the clutter that once controlled us.
11 – Increases Happiness
Clutter-free homes promote a feeling of happiness and calm.
When our homes are neat and tidy, we feel more at ease and content.
This is because we are no longer surrounded by things that remind us of our stressors in life.
A decluttered home leaves more space for positive things, which is naturally what we want!
12 – More Ability To Focus
This is closely tied with having mental clarity.
A cluttered home makes it difficult to focus on the things that are right in front of us, let alone focusing on things outside of our life like school or work.
Clutter-free homes increase our ability to focus because we can see clearly what needs to be done and how we can go about doing it.
Now that we know some of the physical health benefits and mental health benefits of decluttering, let’s move on to some personal benefits.
13 – Less Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue is something that not many people realize is an actual problem until they make a conscious effort to reduce it. It’s like that glass-shattering moment – once you know you can’t un-know…
We make so many decisions each day without even realizing – should we shower first or eat breakfast? Coffee first or get dressed?
Clearing clutter helps reduce decision fatigue because there are simply fewer decisions to make.
14 – More Organized
When our homes are cluttered, it is difficult to find anything because everything is just thrown into a pile or shoved into a drawer.
This can lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time.
Having a clean home helps us stay more organized because everything has its place and instead of looking for things, they are exactly where they are supposed to be.
15 – More Productive
This goes hand in hand with being more organized.
When our homes are cluttered, it is difficult to focus on the task at hand because we are constantly being distracted by the mess around us.
A decluttered home provides an environment that is conducive to productivity because there are no distractions and we can focus on what it is we need and want to do.
16 – More Space For Creativity To Flow
When our homes are cluttered, there is no space for creativity to flow.
A cluttered home gives off the vibe of an untidy mind or an uninhabited space, which can make it difficult to be creative.
However, a clean home provides just enough room for creativity to build and grow.
We don’t often think of our minds as needing space – but physical space around us allows our minds to expand and allows creativity to flow.
17 – Helps To Focus On Gratitude
Decluttering your home can help increase feelings of gratitude because you become more aware of what you have.
When our homes are cluttered, we often do not take the time to appreciate and focus on the things that we own.
A decluttered home helps us focus on the positive things in our lives and helps us be more grateful for what we have.
18 – Helps Promote Self Care
Self-care is important for everyone – no matter how cluttered your life may seem.
Self-care can be as simple as doing something nice for yourself like taking a bubble bath or eating a piece of hot fudge cake and spending time watching your favorite movie.
Decluttering helps promote self-care because we can take the time to focus on ourselves and our needs without being bogged down by the things around us.
19 – Allows More Mindfulness
Decluttered home can help us be more mindful of the present.
When our homes are cluttered, our minds are often cluttered as well.
We are constantly worrying about the things that we need to do and the things that are stressing us out.
A decluttered home allows us to live more in the moment and be more mindful.
20 – Easier To Achieve Your Goals
We often set goals for ourselves that are never achieved because we get distracted by everything around us.
A cluttered home is like a sign saying, “Do this first!” But when you try to do it, other things pop up because there is so much clutter in the way.
Having less clutter allows you to focus on your goals and achieve them because you are not being distracted by the things around you.
21 – Increase In Confidence
Clutter can have a negative effect on our self-esteem – but decluttering can help increase your confidence.
When you aren’t surrounded by the excess of things that you own, it helps reduce any feelings of inadequacy.
A clean home allows us to appreciate what we have because there are simply fewer distractions around us.
Financial Benefits Of Decluttering
When you start decluttering, you’re probably not thinking of the financial benefits. But they are there, abundantly so, and the financial benefits of decluttering keep paying off long after the clutter is gone.
22 – Potentially Save Money
You can save so much money when you’ve decluttered because once you’ve gone through the decluttering process, you’re less likely to purchase more ‘clutter’ and are more likely to be more mindful about your future purchases.
A clean and decluttered home is a good thing for your wallet and savings account.
23 – Save On Utilities and Environmental Impact
When we have more ‘things’ we need more space to store said ‘things’ and then more, and more, and more.
The average size of homes in America keeps increasing, which could have something to do with the high density of household objects – aka clutter. And with that comes higher expenses and larger negative environmental impact.
While removing items in your declutter may not in itself reduce your utility bills, the effect decluttering has on your mindset and mindfulness will lead you to find things in your life that you can approach in a more minimalist way.
Less clothes might mean less washing. More mindfulness might mean less screentime and therefore less electricity usage.
24 – Reduce Frivolous Spending
After decluttering, you’re not going to want to replace all the physical clutter you just removed with new clutter.
Decluttering can help you reduce frivolous spending because you’re no longer going to want to have as much stuff in your home in the first pace.
Decluttering has such a positive impact on so many areas of your life, and the family benefits are impressive too.
25 – Have More Physical Space
It’s only logical that removing items from your home frees up physical space – which can help your home to feel more spacious and comfortable to live in.
This can be of a great benefit to your family, especially if you’re struggling to find space for family time.
Is your kitchen table always covered in clutter? Decluttering could mean more family dinners together.
Is your living space always cluttered and untidy? Less physical clutter could mean more space for family games night.
What could more physical space mean for your family?
26 – Easier To Maintain Routines
When there is less physical clutter in your home, it can be easier to maintain routines because you’re not distracted or interrupted by clutter.
Routines are an important part of family life, and they can be difficult to stick to when your environment is constantly cluttered and chaotic.
A decluttered home enables everyone in the family to stick to their routines. Think of your morning routine – is it hard to decide what to wear (too many clothes?), difficult to find items to pack school lunches in (kitchen cupboards need cleaning out?), can’t remember where the school hats are (tossed in a pile somewhere?).
Decluttering can help so much with this.
27 – Gives You More Time
Studies show that clutter sucks our time, increases our procrastination, and leads to all around higher stress levels..
When your home is cluttered, you’re spending more time focusing on the clutter (whether you realize it or not) and less time spent with your family members or doing things for yourself.
We all wish we had more hours in the day to do the things we want to do, and while decluttering can’t physically give you more than 24 hours in a day, it can divert where you do spend your time and stop you wasting time on clutter.
28 – Easier To Clean Your Home
Cleaning a cluttered home is not only difficult, but it’s also less effective because you’re often not cleaning all surfaces – you’re just moving the clutter from one place to another.
A decluttered home means that all surfaces are easily accessible and that you can clean your home top to bottom in a shorter amount of time.
No one really likes spending time cleaning, so if decluttering can help you have a clean house faster (and without using as much energy), then that’s always a win.
29 – More Family Time
We know that decluttering can give us more time, but it can also lead to more focused family time too.
Less cluttered spaces means physical areas to spend this family time, and less clutter to clean and deal with gives you back the time in your day to spend together.
30 – Better Relationships
Do you argue with your family about the clutter and mess in your home?
Not only does clutter increase cortisol, this can then lead to increased tensions in relationships in the house, especially when it comes to who has the responsibility for the clutter.
Less clutter means less tension and less things to argue about.
Where To Start Decluttering
So you’re convinced decluttering is the way to go and you want to dive in. The question is – where do you start with decluttering?
The best way to start decluttering is by taking it one room at a time and focusing on one type of clutter at a time, taking it little bit by little bit.
For example, start in the bedroom by decluttering your clothes, then you might move onto the kitchen and do a first pass declutter of the cupboards.
This will make the task seem less daunting and will help you stay focused, while making sure the decluttering process doesn’t take a lot of time to complete.
When it comes to decluttering, don’t be afraid to get rid of things that you haven’t used in a long time, especially if they’re taking up valuable space.
If you have a lot of books, but you only read a couple of them regularly, then get rid of the rest and donate them to your local library or charity.
The same rule applies for clothes, kitchen items, and anything else in your home.
If you haven’t used it in a year, then there’s probably no need for it taking up space in your home.
Clutter doesn’t only refer to physical objects either.
Digital clutter can be just as bad, if not worse, for our mental health (think about how much time you spend on your phone or on your computer).
Applications, files, photos, and downloads can all contribute to digital clutter and just like physical clutter, it can be hard to focus on anything else when our desktops or phones are cluttered.
The best way to deal with digital clutter is to establish some rules for yourself, such as only keeping the applications you use on a regular basis, deleting old files and downloads, and organizing your photos into albums.
How Often You Need To Declutter
Depending on your lifestyle, you may find that you need to declutter on a more regular basis.
If you have young children or teenagers, then your home could be more easily cluttered as toys and other items are left out.
There’s nothing wrong with this type of clutter and it can even encourage play and creativity.
However, if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning, then consider decluttering regularly.
This could mean once a week, every fortnight, or once a month – whatever works best for you and your family.
At the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often you need to declutter, but simply create a decluttering routine or schedule that works best for you.