We all know how much better we feel when our home is decluttered, but actually getting around to doing it can sometimes feel overwhelming! If you been continuously pushing this to the end of your to-do list, you’re in luck. Over the next few week’s we’ll be sharing step by step instructions to decluttering every room in your house.
In today’s consumerism focused culture, it’s so easy to over shop and end up with a house full of things you don’t need. People are starting to tire of this materialistic lifestyle, and movements like the minimalist movement and books like The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up are helping to open the conversation around purchasing less and enjoying what we have more.
Decluttering is actually about a lot more than just improving the look of your home. A study conducted by Neuroscientists at Princeton University found that having a cluttered space actually inhibits your ability to focus and process information! The excess objects act as stimuli that make it harder for you to direct your attention to the task at hand. Your brain has to work harder to filter them out, so it tires more quickly than it would if there weren’t as many objects competing for your attention.
Clutter can also make us feel more anxious, and researchers at UCLA found that stress levels spike when dealing with excessive possessions. The excessive stimuli have been shown to increase feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and insecurity and decrease creativity and relaxation. Basically, decluttering your home can help you to declutter your mind.
You probably don’t need a study to tell you this though- the way we feel in a cluttered space versus a clutter-free one is tangible! We somehow just feel lighter and clearer when our spaces are organized.
Whether you are moving towards a minimal lifestyle, want to increase your ability to focus and create, or you simply want to keep your house tidy, this series of articles will help you guide you through the entire process, room by room. We’re going to begin the series with an upcoming post on decluttering your bedroom, but today we want to share some more information on the importance of decluttering and some general tips on decluttering your home.
Go room by room.
It can be tempting to go on a full-on decluttering spree and pull apart your entire home at once. Chances are this won’t result in a decluttered home but rather a big mess and lots of stress for you. Instead, declutter your home room by room, maybe focusing on one room per week. This will allow you to stay organized, do a thorough job on each space, and not get overwhelmed or burnt out.
Or start smaller.
Taking on an entire room may seem like too big of a task, and it’s okay to start small. Maybe you do your closet one week and your office desk the next. Work out a plan that works best for you.
Know it can be an emotional process.
Many people avoid decluttering because there can be a lot of emotional attachment surrounding both the possessions themselves and holding on to clutter. If you feel like the reason you can’t get rid of things is attached to some mental or emotional issues you’d like to work on, consider reaching out to a counsellor or professional organizer.
Identify your clutter personality.
The founders of The NEAT Method believe that certain personality traits can cause clutter. Identifying your personality trait can help you to work through any emotional issues you’re having around your clutter.
- Being too busy. When you’re running around all the time, you may simply not be giving yourself enough time to spend cleaning and organizing your home. Assess whether or not you actually need to be this busy or whether you’re getting an emotional benefit from being so busy (i.e. wanting to feel important, avoiding underlying stressors, etc.).
- If you’re prone to constant worrying, you may be holding onto possessions as a way to feel safe. Consider healthier ways to calm your worries such as meditation, mindfulness and talk therapy.
- If you generally feel overwhelmed, you may just not be able to find the energy or patience to properly clean and declutter your home. Again, finding healthy ways to deal with these feelings can make it easier to keep your home in order.
DON’T buy storage items (at least not at first).
This one might seem like a bit of a surprise, but if you’re already prone to cluttering your home, the last thing you want to do is go out and buy a bunch of unnecessary baskets, bins, and storage items. Start by getting rid of the clutter in your home. Once everything is cleared out, you can begin to assess whether or not you need storage items and which kinds you need (if any at all).
Take your lifestyle into consideration.
When we take on a new project, it can be tempting to get fixated on perfection, but this can lead to discouragement in the long run. If the minimalist lifestyle isn’t for you, don’t par your wardrobe down to the bare minimum! If you are a major foodie, don’t ditch all of your cookbooks and unnecessary (but fun!) kitchen accessories. Think about what’s important to you and make that a priority when you’re deciding whether to keep or toss an item.
Take price out of the equation.
Sometimes we hold onto things simply because they cost a lot of money. We don’t particularly like them or use them, but they were expensive, so we feel like we have to keep them. Remember this: expensive clutter is still clutter. If you’re not using it and don’t like it, get rid of it. You can also try selling it to recoup some of your losses.
Try the “One Month” trick.
If you’re unsure as to whether or not you should be keeping a certain item, put it away for a month. If you haven’t used it, wanted it, or thought about it during that time, chances are it can go.
Donate your unwanted items.
Knowing that your unused items can be helping someone else is a great incentive for decluttering. Find a local charity or organization in your area that accepts donations or give them to someone you know personally who would want or need the items.
We hope these tips will help get your started with your decluttering! Check back soon for our upcoming articles with step by step instructions for decluttering each room in your home.