Old mail and expired cough medicines. Exercise equipment ordered from a late night infomercial. Year-old party swag. Jeans that fit…last season.
Some of us seem to be industrial strength magnets for unneeded yet lingering “stuff”, while others so effortlessly regulate the flow of items coming into and moving out of their homes. What do those in the latter category know that others don’t?
They know that a cluttered space usually equals a cluttered mind. And a stagnant life!
Regardless of why you’re surrounded by clutter, it all boils down to one thing— habits. And with a little effort and mindfulness, habits can be changed. Keeping your space clutter free is a healthy and life affirming practice, and here are 8 reasons why:
1. You’ll Save Time
How many mornings have you been late to work because you couldn’t find your [fill in the blank]? And all because it was buried under a heap of random items, or camouflaged against the cluttered backdrop that is your living room / home office / bedroom?
A de-cluttered and organized space makes finding things effortless. It also cuts your weekly housekeeping time in half. Less surfaces to clean and less items to organize = more time to do things that are actually fun!
2. You’ll Save Money
This one might not be so obvious, but de-cluttering prevents you from making repeat purchases. That tool that you need to assemble the patio furniture– the expensive one you just priced at Home Depot? You’ve already got one in the garage, behind the storage tubs, under some boxes. But feel free to spend another 80 bucks if you want to.
3. Your Mind Will Thank You
Excessive clutter presents your mind with far too many things to keep up with at once. Beta brain waves, which are dominant when we perform stressful or work related tasks, are encouraged by cluttered environments. De-cluttered environments promote Alpha brain waves, which are linked to a much more relaxed and creative state of mind.
4. Your Body Will Thank You
Cutting down on clutter means cutting down on sources of accumulated dust, dirt, and mold. And this has significant health implications, especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies.
5. You’ll Create Space for New Things to Enter Your Life
Without the energy drain of a cluttered space, you can use that extra vigor to tend to more productive things. Perhaps get clarity on what you want in life, or focus on new goals or interests you’d like to pursue. And now there will be space in your home for the objects associated with your new interests!
6. You'll Create Freedom From the Past
Everything in your home, even the home itself, carries an energy. And sometimes that energy is emotional energy. That’s why relationship experts suggest that those going through a breakup remove reminders of the old relationship from their space, or at least hide them away for a while!
But this notion extends to other areas of life as well. How many items in your space are tied to old goals and old ways of seeing the world, or to outgrown interests? We may not realize it, but these things can encourage us to stay stuck in the past. Getting rid of things that no longer serve you or make you happy can help you usher in a new chapter of your life.
7. You'll Help Someone Who Needs That _______ More Than You Do
If you've got items that you purchased, used, lost interest in and can now classify as clutter, realize how fortunate you are to have that problem. Many people are without the means to acquire such things in the first place. So if you’re no longer using something that could be of use to someone else, such as clothing, books, fitness equipment, or furniture, donate these items and pay it forward. What's become useless for you today may be vital for someone else's tomorrow.
8. You'll Make Peace With Reality
To declutter your space effectively, you have to make decisions. Making choices about what stays and what goes forces you to own up to the truth about why you still posses anything that’s not serving you.
A good rule of thumb is to let go of anything you haven’t used in the last two years. If, for example, your treadmill meets this standard, then you should seriously question why you haven't used it in so long. Being honest about your reasons can help you come up with new, more viable ways of reaching your goal. Perhaps you ditch the treadmill and sign up for a group exercise class because you realize you hate working out solo. With clutter, sometimes the “stuff” is the symptom, not just the problem.
Living a clutter-free life means enjoying a more breathable and fluid existence. It’s yours for the taking!