Decluttering has become almost like a mantra for many people. If you’re planning to live a more minimalistic lifestyle, then decluttering is essential. It’s done every springtime almost like a ritual in many homes around the world. Whatever drives this behavior, it’s pretty common to hear of someone telling you that they’re “spring cleaning”.
You declutter when you move to a new home or are faced with empty-nest syndrome and it's time to tidy up Junior’s bedroom as he’s not planning to return home anytime soon! If you’re living with a perfectionist partner, decluttering becomes the call of the day – often! And, when your home starts to look like a pigsty, well, decluttering is an option.
What was once a way of tidying up clutter, decluttering has now become a form of therapy. Psychologists, therapists, and coaches are telling us to declutter. Studies are being done to show the many benefits of this practice. So, what exactly is all the fuss about decluttering?
Read on if you’re being asked to declutter your home by none other than your life coach or counselor and find out why it’s important for your mind, body, and soul.
What Does Decluttering Mean?
If you’re one of those people who believe decluttering is simply the art of moving stuff from one place to another in your home, then you’re not alone. But what is the meaning of the word to declutter?
According to Dictionary.com, it means:
To remove mess and clutter from a place
To prioritize and organize one’s commitments, material possessions, etc. (I would add “thoughts” to this list).
You could say that to declutter is to not only remove things because they’re messy and make a mess. But, because they no longer serve a purpose and need to be tossed so that your place is more comfortable and pleasant (use this analogy when you think of removing too many messy thoughts from your mind.)
Why is Decluttering Important?
If your therapist or life coach is recommending decluttering, why is it important besides keeping your home (and mind) neat and tidy? The process of this activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself when it comes to self-care.
By removing the mess and the clutter, you’re freeing up space for new energy, more clarity, and a sense of harmony. This applies to both your physical home and your mental home. Your spiritual and emotional being will rejoice too!
The less clutter you have both in your home and mind, the more self-control you have. The tidier your home and mind, the better your overall well-being – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That’s the magic of self-care and decluttering is a major part of taking care of yourself.
When your home is messy and full of clutter, you’re going to feel on edge and tired. Think of how much time is wasted on housework, when you find yourself navigating a pile of junk?
How about your irritation levels rising to boiling point every time you have to step over discarded laundry on the floor or toys scattered all over the place? And, how about those useless artifacts crowding your bedside table?
All of this clutter will eventually drive you mad, consciously or subconsciously. I know of a few people who live with so much clutter – old research papers piled up on the dining table, books collecting dust on the floor, and grandma’s rocking chair taking up space in the bedroom.
They seem oblivious, almost happy with all this junk around them, and yet they always seem angry and frustrated with life. Connection? I truly believe all that mess and chaos in their home is disturbing their inner peace and they don’t even know it! It certainly disturbs my peace whenever I visit them!
Creating a Sanctuary at Home
Your home should be the place you can go to and relax, feel calm, and escape from the craziness of the outside world. It should be your sanctuary, your retreat, the place to recharge and rejuvenate yourself.
You can’t have any of this if you’re stubbing your toe because there’s too much furniture in the hallway. Or, that pile of Lego that Johnny still hasn’t tidied up from last week is the reason your bare foot is aching.
And, simply laying your eyes on all the mess in the lounge almost gives you a headache as you wonder how you’re going to keep it clean of dust for the next visit by the in-laws.
Just writing this makes me feel out of harmony with myself and I’m not even living in this kind of a mess. Imagine what’s it doing to your mind, soul, and body if you ARE living in a cluttered home?
By creating a sanctuary at home, you’re giving yourself a place to rest. Open spaces, cleared of old and unused furniture, piles of dusty magazines, and useless ornaments, create an illusion of calm and peace. It allows for the flow of clean and fresh energy. And, all of this makes you feel soothed and invigorated.
Steps to Creating a Peaceful Home (PLUS the Benefits)
Does the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle seem attractive to you? Do you want to create a peaceful home PLUS get all the benefits of cleaning up your physical and mental space? But, you’re not sure how to go about decluttering your home?
Here are some steps to help you. There’s no need to procrastinate. Just do it and reap the benefits.
1, Open Up Space
One of the best ways to get the energy flowing in your home again is to open up space. This means removing the furniture you’ve been hanging onto simply because it was your grandma’s favorite rocking chair. Or, you have fond memories of your student days 20 years ago and you can’t bear to part with that brown couch.
Memories are good but holding onto them sometimes keeps you in the past. This isn't conducive to living in the moment nor is it good for clearing space to allow new and fresh potentials into your life.
What is the benefit? By opening up space you’re literally creating more breathing space for yourself. You’ll be amazed too by how much lighter and brighter your home feels too. Your mind will be free of past memories, giving you more clarity to focus on the present moment.
2. Take Advantage of Storage Containers
There are things you can’t discard such as your kid’s Lego or your winter wardrobe that’s now lying on the floor of your bedroom because your cupboard is stuffed full of your summer clothes.
But, you can get smart and take advantage of nifty storage containers such as baskets and other boxes that can be stored neatly in your cupboard. They can even go under your bed. or be kept in the garage.
I love these IRIS Stack & Pull Boxes for easy storage of clothing, bedding, and just about anything else you don't need immediately.
Or, these beautiful Trademark Innovations Foldable Hyacinth Storage Baskets. You can keep all the kids' toys in them, magazines you're still reading, or even towels for the bathroom. They'll suit most home decor too!
What is the benefit? Once again, you’re freeing up space and you’re less likely to trip over the stuff lying on the floor. So, more breathing space and less frustration build-up. Plus, fewer injuries are caused by falling over too much clutter.
3. Give Away to Charity
Be honest with yourself. Look around your home. When was the last time you used that treadmill in the corner of your bedroom? How about the three different blenders now sitting in your kitchen cupboard because the fourth one is being used on the countertop? And, all those shoes? Do you really need them?
Over the years, it becomes very easy to accumulate stuff. At the time, they seem useful and had a purpose. But, it’s not long before they simply become another item crowding your home. Holding onto all of these useless and unused things will being to rattle your nerves. Trust me when I say this and give your stuff away to charity.
What is the benefit? By giving away to charity, not only are you decluttering your home (and mind, body, and soul) but your stuff will in fact be considered very useful by someone else. Plus, you’ll feel lighter as the guilty feeling of owning so much stuff that you’re not actually using goes to someone who'll benefit from having it!
4. Have a Car Boot Sale
You can earn extra cash by decluttering. Go through each room in your house with a sturdy box and fill it up with all the things you no longer need. These could include:
The ornaments that are gathering dust in the living room.
Old magazines and books you’re no longer reading and taking up floor space in every room.
Old toys your kids no longer play with.
Bedding, old curtains, towels you no longer use, and everything else stacked in the linen cupboard which hasn’t been used in the past five years.
Kitchen appliances you’ve stopped using in the past year. The same goes for cutlery, crockery, and anything else in the kitchen that no longer serves its purpose.
Clothing that no longer fits you or has gone out of fashion (and you care about that). This includes all the stilettos you’re never going to wear again because of your bunions.
Old tools that have been stashed in your garage for years and not used since you started hiring the gardening service ten years ago.
The list goes on and you’ll be amazed by just how much you need to get rid of. In fact, you won’t be holding only one car boot sale. You’ll be doing one every weekend for the next couple of months if you’re serious about decluttering.
What is the benefit? A cleaner home, a peaceful mind, and more energy to focus on doing the hobbies you really want to do instead of tidying up all the time.
A Summary of All the Benefits
I can’t help but emphasize the benefits of decluttering. I’ve listed only a few of the benefits mentioned above so here are more in case you still need convincing about decluttering:
Letting go of sentimental mementos helps you to process what’s happened in the past and to let it go. This frees you up to be more present and recognize that NOW is the moment of power.
Giving away to those who are less fortunate than you give you Brownie points and keeps the guilt at bay.
An organized and tidy environment clears the mind giving you more opportunities to have focus and clarity. Plus, your productivity will improve too.
Saves you money when you find items you thought you had misplaced and needed to replace.
Opens up space for you to breathe, take in new energy, and even get your creative juices flowing again.
Getting rid of junk means you don’t have to find extra storage for them. This saves you money, time, and the energy it would take to pack them and get them to a storage facility.
With more stuff to clean in the house, the more stress levels you’ll have unless you’re one of the very rare beings who gets a thrill from cleaning their homes (they do exist, by the way!).
You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more focused when your home is free of mess and clutter. Your concentration will improve too when there’s less physical (and mental) clutter to deal with.
People who suffer from a hoarding habit are less likely to sleep well. Living amongst clutter is also likely to make you an insomniac.
The acts of decluttering improve your intuition! Clearing space around you gives you more space to think with clarity and make the right decision.
There’s less chance of stress and tension in the home which means less arguing and bickering.
The very act of decluttering, when done systematically, is soothing and rewarding. This, in turn, will enhance your mood and make you feel more in control of your life.
The less you own, the more space you have around you. Clutter is known to raise emotions such as irritation, frustration, sorrow, anger, and even guilt. A messy environment limits your ability to be productive as your concentration levels drop as well as your focus. And, too much clutter leads to dull and stagnant energy in the home.
By decluttering, you’re giving yourself a healthier environment to live in and it’s a vital component of self-care. If you’re serious about your overall wellbeing, make sure you keep your clutter to the minimum. This way, you can benefit from living in a sanctuary.
This post was originally published on March 25th, 2021, and updated on June 29th, 2022.
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