Posted on November 10th, 2021
Most of us have at least a bit of clutter in our homes. In fact, most people live with a great deal of it. A survey found that 54 percent of Americans are overwhelmed by this problem and don’t know how to face it. This establishes a painful but undeniable truth: a mess undoubtedly leads to stress. There are many ways in which clutter affects your life and well-being, on several levels! If you would like to understand why, and subsequently learn how to deal with it, this piece will be perfect for you!
The adverse effect of clutter in your home
As many of us have come to realize in these last two years, the stress of the pandemic and being locked indoors breeds clutter. Adding to that, clutter in the home has a terrible effect on our health, cognitive abilities, emotional well-being, decision-making skills, behavior, and more. A disorganized household or workspace is sure to increase the stress and anxiety levels of anyone.
Why is mess such a stressor?
Clutter can be terribly damaging to your life in general, and the toll it takes on your subjective well-being is even more significant. A mess will distract your focus and make it more difficult to relax in your home. More so, studies have shown that clutter can bombard your brain with sensory overload and cause anxiety and feelings of depression.
The way this happens is rather sinister, the visual stimulus from the clutter means our eyes are constantly sending signals to our brain. These signals convey a message that says: “Your work is never done”. As a result, we feel anxious and guilty. Even embarrassed, especially if you ever have a surprise guest. When our mental power is hijacked by this excess stress, the areas of the brain responsible for creative thinking and problem-solving, among others are forced to take a secondary role, making us far less productive and ingenious.
So before you’ve reached the point where you simply must start decluttering out of need, try to get a jump start while you are still productive and in a good headspace. If you take action while the clutter in your home is still small, you can prevent the snowball effect. Prevention is the best way to avoid falling into negative patterns that would be much harder to climb out from.
What is the optimal level of clutter?
Let’s face it, it is completely unrealistic to keep a completely clutter-free home. Especially if there are kids involved. Let us forget about trying to achieve an IKEA-catalogue level of tidiness. You might have bad cleaning habits, but unrealistic standards could be causing more damage than the clutter itself. So, don’t be so hard on family members making a mess. Allow your family to inhabit their own home. With that being said, it is good to know just how much clutter is too much.
Now that you know the horrific toll a disorganized home can take, consider if it’s time for you to declutter your home. Although the acceptable level of clutter will vary, depending on your standards, there is a universal, unmistakable sign that it’s time for you to declutter your home. That sign is stress.
Your home should be a sanctuary, your safe haven. If you feel your stress levels spike when you look at certain areas of your home that means it is time. Your home should be the bastion of comfort and relaxation in your life, not a place that brings you stress and misery.
How to declutter your home and get organized
There is a wealth of helpful advice and tips online, but here are some tips we’ve found to work the best. Don’t fret if you are new to this. To get started, you need to take just a few basic steps.
1. Start Small
Start decluttering room by room. You can divide your stuff into boxes to store, donate or throw away. Remember the golden rule: If you don’t need it or love it, get rid of it. That does not mean you have to toss it in the garbage. Instead, you can recycle or donate. A fantastic trend that has grown recently to breathe life into old furniture is upcycling. It doesn’t really matter what you do with each specific item. Just make sure you don’t keep things sitting around with no purpose.
2. Consider Usefulness
For the items from your “to keep” box, make sure you find a place to put everything. If you struggle to find a place for a certain item, you might not want to keep it that bad. For the items that are useful, try to be strategic with your placement. Place items in areas where they will be used. For example, you will never lose your keys if you leave them near the door.
3. Find a Spot
Frequently used items should get their designated spaces, so they can be found easily when needed. If possible, try to make these spaces closed like drawers or cabinets, for example. Innovative home storage solutions are just one of the fantastic ways to do this.
How to not get overwhelmed decluttering
Who says you need to organize your entire home in one day? You can spread it out over several days or even weeks. You can do hourly decluttering sessions. Whatever works for you. If you’ve been hoarding stuff for years, you can always start with baby steps. Just get started, and ultimately, you might even uncover and clean places you didn’t even think you could reach before!
And why not make it fun? Put on some of your favorite tunes and get cleaning. You may even enjoy the chore you’ve been putting off for so long.
The bottom line
The stress of a disorganized home can seem subtle, but in reality, is terribly draining – physically and mentally. Taking steps to declutter is one of the best things you can do to ease your mind and soul. Stop buying useless items! Instead, take some time to evaluate how much each purchase really enriches your life. Do the same for the items you already have. Once you really know which items are important and which are not, you’ll be sure to lead a far more relaxed life.