There’s a lot of areas that can be de-cluttered. Your home, your office, your wardrobe, your email for example, but there’s more to de-cluttering than simply donating some unused items to charity – although that is a great start!
Many people that struggle with clutter report that they feel disorganised, stressed, unable to focus, inadequate or even guilty and are unaware of why they feel the way they do.
Clutter takes up not just physical space, but mental space and energy too. Have you got a pile of paperwork on your bench that you know you need to deal with; or is your wardrobe stuffed full of clothes you don’t actually wear? How do you feel every time you look at those papers or try to find an outfit? I’m guessing you let out a sigh, your shoulders drop and you remind yourself that you really need to do something about it. Now think about how you feel when you sit down to relax for a while. Do you genuinely relax or is there a nagging feeling in the back of your mind telling you that there’s something else you should be doing? That’s how clutter takes up mental space in your mind. Emotional space can be taken up when you’ve got other people’s items in your home. Maybe a friend or family member asked if you could store something for them for a couple of weeks and yet a year later it’s still sitting in your spare room. Each time you see it you’re reminded that it’s still there and it’s taking up your space and it may make you feel a bit grumpy or frustrated that they haven’t come to collect it yet. Do you have any items left from previous relationships or past friendships? Unless the feeling that you get whenever you look at these items is happiness or delight in their beauty, then they need to go as they’re also creating emotional clutter for you.
So, clutter takes up physical, mental and emotional energy and is also a drain on your time and on your finances. How often have you bought something only to find you already had something similar but it was pushed at the back of the cupboard and you’d forgotten it was there? How much time do you spend looking for items that have gotten lost in your clutter or pulling item after item out of your wardrobe trying to decide what to wear?
Take a look around your home. Do you feel happiness and contentment with what you see? If you’ve got things such as past hobbies waiting in the corner for you to return to them, it will cause you not only physical clutter but also emotional clutter each time you look at it. You may have loved it at the time but if it’s no longer serving you or part of your life, it’s time to let it go and give yourself space for something new to enter.
There’s plenty of benefits to being clutter free but here’s some you may not have known. Having a clutter free home or work space gives you:
1. Peace of mind.
A cluttered home can cause you stress and anxiety. You always have in the back of your mind things that need to be done. Papers to clear, boxes to move, clothes to clear, emails to read, filing to be done, bills to pay etc. By reducing your clutter, you allow yourself to free your mental space.
2. Reduces Procrastination
When you are overwhelmed with many things to do, it’s easier to do nothing at all rather than work out where to begin, and so you procrastinate. Being clutter free helps to remove some of the tasks starting at you and so you don’t feel the need to procrastinate quite so much.
When there’s less in your home and when most items have a place they belong, you spend much less time looking for items. When was the last time you lost your keys or sunglasses and how much time did you spend looking for them? Additionally, if there’s less items in your home that’s less time you’ll spend dusting and cleaning which is always a good thing!
4. Saves you Money
If you have piles of paper everywhere it’s easy to lose or forget to pay a bill which will cost you interest and late fees. If your office is clear and tidy and everything is in a place they belong, you’ll be able to grab all your current bills at one time and make the payments and so avoid any late fees. When there’s plenty of clutter around, you’re also more likely to purchase additional items you think you’ve lost or used because you can’t find them only to find that you already had them.
5. You’ll think more clearly
Having clutter around you makes you expend more mental energy as you’re constantly reminded of all the things you need to do, and that causes additional frustration and cloudy thinking habits. Less clutter means a clearer mind.
6. You’ll have better concentration
When you have areas of clutter around you, all those items compete for your attention and you constantly get distracted. Even if only for a few moments, it still breaks the flow of what you were doing and you then need to re-focus and start concentration again. Get rid of the clutter and you’ll be amazed at how much much faster you can complete your tasks.
7. You get to help others
Donating all your unused items is a great way to be charitable. Maybe you know someone in particular that would love your electric knife that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, or maybe you can just donate all your unwanted items to your favourite local charity. Another great way is to join a community ‘Buy Nothing’ group and you can pass on your items to people in your local area who will actually love and use them.
So, are you now ready to start de-cluttering? Create a vision for yourself of how you want your year ahead to look, feel and be. As you’re de-cluttering, ask yourself whether each item fits into this picture. If not, it’s time to let it go.
Have you started decluttering? What’s the biggest benefit you’ve had from decluttering in your life?