Clutter. Do you feel like it’s everywhere? You’re not alone. After all the to-do lists and retail frenzy of the holidays, simplification is on many minds. With a new year (and new decade) ahead you may want to feel an “uncluttered” sense of peace and calm. Read on to achieve a fresh, organized start to all your spaces.
According to Psychology Today, less may actually be more. Recent studies on stress, life contentment, physical health and mental well-being point to the benefits of having fewer personal belongings.
The Benefits of Being Clutter-Free
- Gives you a better sense of well-being. Did you know procrastination is linked to clutter? According to a recent study clutter problems led to less life satisfaction, especially among older adults.
- Helps you lose weight. Constantly being in cluttered room, office or car can be stressful. All the undone cleaning tasks in the back of your of mind cause stress, which is linked to obesity.
- Promotes mental health. Having clutter around can make you feel anxious or overwhelmed. This prevents you from truly relaxing or focusing.
- Saves you money. It’s not a secret that money worries cause stress. And, according to a Journal of Consumer Research study, you’re more likely to make a purchase when you’re sitting in a messy room compared to a tidy room.
- Start with a plan. Make a list of your clutter-improvement priorities and the tasks needed to accomplish each one. Focus on one section of your home per week, so you don’t get overwhelmed. In fact, organizational expert Peter Walsh suggests starting with the easiest room first to gain momentum. Conversely, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” author Marie Kondo suggests organizing by category (for example clothing or books). Experiment with an organizing plan that appeals to you. There are also many helpful on-line calendars you can use as a starting point.
- Delegate when you can. Include your children and spouse into your plan. Is uncle Bob an electrician? Then get him to swap out your eyesore of a ceiling fan or update an old light fixture. Of course it’s ok to outsource the duties – such as window cleaning or painting – if your budget allows.
- Buy less. The less you purchase the less you need to store, clean, keep track of, organize or dust. Seems simple, right? Not for everyone. On average we are bombarded with over 4,000 marketing messages a day, not to mention FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when we see our friends posting about their newest toys on their social media feeds. Focus on quality over quantity.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Still on the fence about what to throw away? Use these declutter decision-making guide questions to help you.
Beyond Clutter: The Minimalist Lifestyle
Project 333. Overwhelmed with a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear? Take this fashion challenge to find out if you can survive with only 33 items in your closet for three months.
Declutter 100. Make the most of your de-cluttering mindset by this trash dash. Set a timer for 60 minutes then get rid of 100 things. Use one bag for trash, and another for donations. Ready? Set? Go!
The Mins Game. This is a social accountability challenge: First, find a friend or family member who’s willing to get rid of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day. Two items on the second day, etc. No item is off limits. The only rule is whether you sell, trash or donate the item , it has to be out of your house—and out of your life—by midnight on each day.
Organize Your Health
Along with taking care of your surroundings, make a commitment to get up to date on your health checkup and screenings. Preventing an illness is a bargain compared to the cost of a chronic disease.
It’s also a good idea to go through all of your medications and check the expiration date.
Remember to properly dispose of medications. DO NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet, unless the label indicates it is safe to do so.
Related: Why are Annual Exams & Routine Screenings Important?