Decluttering could make you happier—and healthier
We all have stuff we leave lying around—tucked in a corner, behind furniture or just thrown in the back of the closet. We have good intentions to clean it up within a day or two, but three months later, it’s still there—now under a new pile of other things. It may seem like no big deal, but that seemingly harmless mess can be causing you more harm than you realize. Clutter tends to linger in our minds, building up as anxiety that can lead to stress, restlessness and even depression.
In fact, just the thought of cleaning a cluttered area—where to begin, what to keep and how to dispose of the excess—can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing chore. Keeping it simple and cleaning in stages can greatly ease your physical and mental work.
Here are some of the health benefits you can experience when you start decluttering your life:
• A clean desk can lead to better production. Is there a lot of stuff on your desk? It may be making it harder for you to do your job. That's because a cluttered environment can distract your brain from your priorities, leaving you frustrated and less productive.
By simply taking a few minutes a day to organize your space, you could actually save yourself time by working more efficiently.
• Having less clutter can make for better sleep. While a majority of people don’t have a hoarding disorder, many struggle with "too much stuff" syndrome. Both can lead to restless nights, thinking about how to begin to tackle the clutter. If you think you have too much stuff in your living space, consider this: having fewer things means making fewer choices throughout the day and prioritizing less time to cleanup.
• Collecting less can lead to more savings. Once you’ve gotten rid of what you don’t need, try to be more mindful about future purchases. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t treat yourself to fun purchases—you should. But taking a moment to reflect on how likely it is you’ll actually use the item can help stop you from creating a new pile of “junk.” And the less you buy, the more you can save towards bills, your retirement or non-material purchases, such as travel!
• Less stuff means fewer allergens. Dust, dander and pet hair can pile up in hard-to-reach places. Be sure to keep up on changing your system’s air filters, and take the extra effort to move furniture while vacuuming. If you’re especially sensitive to home allergens, consider removing carpeting, as it’s a common area for dust mites to collect.
Like most healthy choices, decluttering and staying organized is a lifestyle change. If you take time to clean a little each day, you can make it a habit. Just focus on making small cleanups right away, rather than putting them off for later when it’ll likely become a much bigger task.
So take the time to put away the dishes or clean the end tables before heading to bed. It can help you achieve greater peace of mind.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.