Simplify your life: Mess leads to stress so declutter today! [free mini course]
I love the saying mess causes stress. It is definitely true in my life – the messier and chaotic my surroundings, the messier and chaotic my mind. I get anxious when I am surrounded by unorganized untidiness, and even more so when that untidy area is what is supposed to be my safe space – my home. Although clutter has not formally been recognized as a known stressor, the link between a cluttered home and increased levels of cortisol has scientifically been shown, and I am sure many of my readers will agree. Stress is definitely amplified by mess as clutter overloads your senses, just like multitasking overloads your brain.
The reason behind the rise in cortisol levels and the subsequent increase in stress levels can be attributed to the way that a cluttered and messy space makes us feel. Helplessness, overwhelm and anxiousness are all emotions that have been linked to chaotic and cluttered surroundings. Luckily, unlike many other known stressors, a cluttered house is one of the easiest causes of stress that you can fix.
Definition of clutter and what it means to declutter
According to the Cambridge dictionary, the official definition of clutter is
Merriam-Webster adds that it impedes movement or reduce effectiveness.
If you really think about it, clutter is procrastination. Putting something down thinking that you will get around to it later. As much as clutter causes stress, it can also indicate that you are struggling with keeping up or meeting your responsibilities elsewhere. Procrastinating on more than one aspect of your life. This is one of the reasons why decluttering is such a freeing exercise – you are letting go of much more than just material possessions or junk.d. You make your life better, and yourself happier.
Benefits of decluttering your life
1. It gives you confidence
Looking back at what you have achieved, the calm you have created can make you feel really good about yourself. This will give you the confidence to tackle the next task or challenge.
2. It exercises your decision-making muscles
Making the, often difficult, decision of what to keep and what to chuck can teach you or help you warm up your decision-making skills.
3. It gives you energy and increases your productivity
Freeing up space, creating calm and making these decisions quickly will fire you up. The motivation that you feel afterwards can be used to propel you towards the next challenge.
4. Reduction in anxiety
When our surroundings are messy and chaotic, it can lead to us feeling that way as well. Clearing and cleaning can help settle your mind, which in turn can soothe your anxiety.
5. Encourages mind-wandering
Because decluttering is a relatively uninvolved task, you are giving your brain a chance to breathe. With this new-found unchained-ness, you might be surprised to all of a sudden get the solution to a problem you have been battling with, or an idea for the next best thing. It is like a gentle stretch for the mind
6. Can give you a bit of exercise
Not always a physical activity, but decluttering can be. Climbing up and down a small ladder to clear the tops of your cupboards, lugging around heavy boxes to donate them, etc. can give you a bit of a workout!
7. Improve relationships
The strain that relationships can endure because of a cluttered environment is almost instantly resolved. Also consider how much better everyone’s moods will be if they know exactly where to find things, where to put them back and what to do with them. No more running around like a headless chicken, shouting at the kids and swearing at your partner.
8. You find things previously thought of as lost
All those items that you chalked up to being lost or even stolen. You might find some of them when you start unpacking and organizing your desk drawers, cupboards, storage containers and more. Finding things that you thought were gone can help you feel accomplished, that you have in abundance, and create a sense of serene happiness.
9. It helps others
All those things you no longer want but are still useable can go to someone who needs it but cannot necessarily afford it. Items such as clothes, appliances, accessories, foodstuff, even scrap paper – there is a huge market for these products, so sort and organize and donate what you no longer want.
10. It can help to keep you healthy
When you declutter, you most likely will also clean. This reduces the amount of dust and other allergens hanging around your space, thus reducing symptoms of asthma, eczema, etc.
Decluttering means to organize in order to simplify
The main reason I love decluttering, and why it gives me a feeling of being calm and collective, is the knowledge that I am not storing, protecting, paying for (insurance and all) or trying to keep track of things that I do not use, do not want, and do not like. Once those things are gone you have given yourself permission to enjoy what is left. Decluttering means I am simplifying my life, organizing my possessions and my thoughts. It is definitely one of the first things I would recommend you do if you want to start on a minimalistic and simple life journey.
A tidy and organized house and life will give you peace and calm
Focusing on what you have, and only having what you want, will create beauty and calm in you that you will translate and use in all aspects of your life.
How to declutter
If you want to try your hand at decluttering, but not sure how to go about it, download my free mini decluttering challenge