Have you ever heard that decluttering your stuff can help reduce stress and improve your mental wellbeing? Yes! If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce stress (and have some extra benefits), decluttering your environment—whether it is your work desk, room, kitchen, or storage unit, or organizing some documents—may be a good place to start.
Living in clutter can cause stress, feeling overwhelmed, depression, anxiety, problems with personal relationships, and more. When you declutter, you are alleviating the disorganization in your environment and also in your mind. Studies found that people who experience adverse or traumatic experiences fare better and are more resilient when they can create a sense of control and a sense of autonomy over their lives. Unfortunately, you cannot control our external circumstances, but you can still control our internal circumstances, such as our room or personal spaces, and it will create a better sense of control in our lives.
It is not only about where things go but also about why
Why you want to organize your stuff or space is actually as important as how you do it and what you are going to do with it. Here are some whys of organizing your space:
- It helps to save some spaces—your area and space will look tidier and more spacious with less stuff around.
- You can see what you already have (and save money)—have you ever found something you don’t even remember you have? By organizing your stuff, you can save money and avoid buying unnecessary things that you already have.
- It helps to save time—when things are messy and all around the place, it takes time for you to find the things that you are looking for, and sometimes, it can also create some frustration.
- Organizing prevents you from feeling frustration and stress—especially when you are in a hurry, you may be late for work or an important meeting, or if you need to find an important file in your computer during a meeting.
- It helps to make you feel better—a tidier, cleaner, and organized environment will make you feel more comfortable in your space. It will create a positive mood, reduce some stress, and make you feel relaxed when you come home after a whole day of work. It helps you to feel more grounded in your own space.
- Organizing allows you to feel more in control—whether it’s your work environment, personal environment, or even the documents on your laptop. You can create your own organizational system that works best for you, and you can also be creative in organizing your stuff to make it fun.
- It allows you to clear your space emotionally—Do you still have some things from years ago that you never used in more than one year, just because you think you may need it someday, or that it has some sort of memories? You can experience closure by purging items that you no longer need, or that are weighing you down.
As mentioned before that decluttering and organizing your stuff can reduce stress, in one scientific study, women who had messy homes had higher cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in their bodies throughout the day compared to women that saw their homes as organized and relaxing. Clutter tends to leave a heavy feeling on a homeowner, as it weighs you down both physically and emotionally.
Organized space helps to increase your ability to concentrate
Have you ever found yourself feeling stressed and easily distracted working in a messy work environment? A clean and tidy space means fewer distractions and therefore helps to make you more focused on what you are doing.
Organized space equals better sleep quality
Are you having some difficulties sleeping or feeling comfortable in your bedroom? Maybe this is a good reason to clean up and declutter your stuff or rearrange your furniture in your bedroom. Christa O’Leary, author of Home in Harmony, said, “If you wake up and are immediately depleted by your surroundings, it will impact your wellbeing as you move through the rest of your day,” she mentions. “We might eventually ignore the clutter on a conscious level because it’s been there for so long, but on an unconscious level the brain wants to complete the task,” Christa declares. Removing the chaos of clutter not only gives your unconscious full capacity to relax and release tension, but it can also help you connect better with your partner.
Organized space can help improve your relationships
“For couples, clutter can create tension and conflict,” says Eva Selhub, MD, author of Your Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer. “And the time you spend looking for missing items can also take away from time you could be spending together with your partner.” Not only that, disorganization can lead to shame and embarrassment and create a physical boundary around you that prevents you from letting people into your house or space.
Organizing can also be a good workout
Yes, deep cleaning an entire house is actually a good workout, which is always beneficial for your body. Even if you are just doing routine cleaning, you can work some muscles, get more steps, and burn some calories. Organizing, cleaning, and decluttering can be a good excuse to burn some calories throughout the day.
It can help you eat better
According to a study in the Journal of Psychological Science, people who worked in a neat space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who worked in a messy office for the same amount of time. “Clutter is stressful for the brain, so you are more likely to resort to coping mechanisms, such as choosing comfort foods or overeating, than if you spend time in neater surroundings,” says Dr. Selhub.
Tips for decluttering
To start organizing, try the below tips so decluttering can be fun and easy:
- Break down what and when to clutter. Set a schedule and break it down into several sessions of decluttering so you won’t feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you need to clean up. Focus on one particular area at a time and finish it. You may put it into categories as well if there are several things or areas you need to organize.
- Set free items you no longer need. Letting go of items that you rarely use or have never been used is a way of getting rid of clutter in your room. If you haven’t used the item in at least a year and doesn’t have a sentimental value, then it may be a good time to give it away.
- Enlist help. If you need some extra hands to help clean your space, set a schedule with your friends and family to help you declutter your stuff. You can also give some of your stuff away to them if the stuff is still in good condition.
- Organize the piles. If you think you can organize it based on the piles, perhaps your books, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc., then it can also be a good chance to donate or resell it to those who might be interested in your stuff.
- Get rid of the bigger stuff first. If it’s difficult to clean your space as you don’t have enough space to start with, maybe consider getting rid of the big stuff first, such as furniture or boxes, so you can have the space to continue working with the smaller stuff.
Now that you know why decluttering and organizing can be good for you, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even socially, how would you like to move things forward? Why do you think it is going to be beneficial for you—to declutter your space? And what do you think can be the first step to start organizing your space? As you go into this new year, maybe this can also be a good New Year’s resolution for 2022.
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Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.