The stresses and strains of modern life can take a massive toll on our health. In fact, according to NHS Digital, one sixth of people in England will have a mental health problem at any given time.
In our hyper-connected, over-stimulated world, it’s no surprise that people are stressed. Though there are some factors we can’t control (like traffic, for one), there are ways to create an environment that promotes a calm, centered state of mind. The first step is to remove clutter.
How can decluttering help?
Decluttering your home can have profound effects on your physical and mental health.
Some benefits of decluttering include:
1. Lower stress levels.
When you come home from a long, hectic day, the last thing you want to deal with is a mess. In fact, when you’re drained from the day, a small pile of clothes can turn into a big trigger. Keeping a tidy, organized space doesn’t just help you keep your things in order—it creates a positive environment where you can unwind. Think of it as a blank slate to reset your state of mind after being “on” and stimulated all day.
2. Sense of achievement.
Whether you’re a self-described clean freak or not, most people can’t deny the satisfaction that comes from cleaning up—whether you’re vacuuming a dirty carpet or clearing a bunch of clutter. Getting rid of junk is a surefire way to tidy your space, but it also gives you a chance to see your surroundings in a new light. Sitting back and relaxing in a place that you’ve just tended to is an act of care—both for your home and for your experience in it. Ultimately, keeping an organized home helps you to feel more in control and more connected to your space.
3. Boosted self-esteem.
Life is full of challenges, and sometimes the clutter you keep can remind you of things that you’d rather forget. (Like old gifts or photos from ex-partners that make you think of past relationships.) By removing the belongings that keep us tethered to the past, we create space for us to move into the future. This gesture of clearing the way for new experiences is incredibly freeing, and can often promote a greater sense of optimism about yourself and the possibilities in front of you.
4. Sharing the love.
Just because you don’t need something doesn’t mean that someone else won’t benefit from it. You can pass old clothes on to other people or take them to a charity, or sell things online and maybe make a few bucks. By passing on your clutter, you can help someone in need, while creating more space for yourself.
4 simple tips for decluttering your house.
Decluttering your house might seem like a daunting task, but it can be done in small steps, and on your own time.
1. Create storage space.
One of the difficulties that comes with decluttering is that we often don’t have enough storage space to put our things away. MakeSpace is a hassle-free storage service that picks up, hauls, and stores your stuff—then delivers it back when you need it.
2. Ask for help.
If it feels too daunting to do yourself, ask for help from a family member or close friend. Even if they don’t know what you want to keep, they can help with moral support (and maybe some handy tea-making).
3. Only do it if you feel up to it.
Just because decluttering would be good for you, doesn’t mean that you have to do it all, right now. Only do it when you feel up to it, for as long as you want to—and remember, once you start it’s difficult to stop!
4. Set a few guidelines.
If you think you’ll find it difficult to know what to keep and what to get rid of, try to come up with a guideline or two. For example, maybe you’ll choose to get rid of everything that you haven’t used in the last year; or maybe you’ll donate all the clothes you haven’t worn in the last six months. These guidelines can be personal, but it helps to stick to them. Before you know it you’ll have a more decluttered home and a more decluttered mind.
Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer with an interest in family life, work/life balance and mental health. When she is not writing, she can be found in the kitchen learning a new recipe, or scrolling through home ideas on Pinterest.