If you’re like most people, it’s all around you, distracting you, interfering with your life, and slowly eating at your mind. What is it? Clutter.
Whether you have a small apartment or a big suburban house, clutter takes up your space and degrades your life. It may be things you no longer need, like clothes that don’t fit, little-used furniture, and duplicates of household items like vacuums.
It can also be menial things like old paperwork, boxes of junk, knick-knacks, or even empty boxes and plastic packaging. But whatever form it takes, clutter gets in your way, making even the most everyday tasks extra time consuming. The emotional burden of living in a cluttered environment can leave you feeling distracted, stressed, and overwhelmed.
That’s why more people are kicking clutter to the curb as a decluttering movement sweeps the nation. Do you know that you have too much stuff, but are not sure that decluttering is important enough to be a priority? Here are 11 reasons to change your mind and convince you to start living better with less clutter.
1. Reduce Stress
Can’t get the car in the garage during a hailstorm? That’s stressful. Have to squeeze in to use your computer because of big heaps of stuff consuming your desk? That’s stressful, too. Clutter adds thin layers of frustration to even the most everyday tasks, and that irritation adds up. Also, clutter and a not-so-clean household degrades your overall mentality, causes chronic stress, and drains your energy.
Clutter can lead to missing appointments, career problems, fighting with spouses, missing sleep, and feelings of anxiety and a lack of control. For many people, clutter is a nagging reminder of cleaning that needs done, whether you’re busy or trying to relax after a long day. That table buried with stuff won’t be reminding you “I need to clean that” after you declutter, so you can sit down and really relax without thinking about what you should be doing.
2. Clear Your Mind
Clutter is a big problem, but also troubling is the mindset that accompanies it. Often, people hold onto things for the wrong reason, like clinging to the past or burying yourself with unnecessary possessions because you’re unsatisfied with life. If that sounds familiar, then addressing your mental relationship with unneeded things and learning to let go will not only declutter your home, but your mind as well.
In addition, living in a cluttered environment can create a massive emotional burden with guilt and anxiety that distracts you and hinders productivity. By decluttering, you eliminate all the emotional baggage and distraction clutter creates, giving you a fresh start with a cleaner house, clearer mind, and a healthier, happier lifestyle.
3. Save Time
Can’t put away that new shirt until you shuffle unworn clothes in your closet? Is the junk draw so stuffed you spend 10 minutes finding a screwdriver? Clutter gets in your way constantly, making you waste time looking for stuff and turning the simple act of putting something away into a multi-step process. By decluttering your house and freeing up space, you can put things away faster and find them quicker, saving you a big chunk of time throughout the day.
4. Focus on Stuff that Matters
Decluttering is about getting rid of stuff, but it’s also about better enjoying and caring for the stuff you keep. Have you ever found a signed copy of your favorite book stuffed behind an over-filled bookcase with its cover torn? Or realized that your grandparents’ antique lamp was put in the garage for “safe” keeping, then buried underneath a pile of boxes? If so, then you know that with too much clutter, stuff you care about can easily become a casualty of a messy household.
Often, you’ll find things after they’ve been displaced and mangled or stained without you ever realizing it. Even if things aren’t damaged, they’re often hard to find or outright lost in clutter, making your favorite DVD or pair of jeans impossible to enjoy when you want. By getting rid of stuff you don’t need, you can keep things you want better organized, accessible, and safe, so you can actually enjoy them and they’ll be less susceptible to damage.
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5. Make Cleaning Easier
Without having to move unused kitchen appliances and knick-knacks first, it’s a lot easier to swipe down a counter, and without piles of paperwork on a desk, it’s a lot easier to dust. Less clutter means you can focus on removing dirt and grime without shuffling stuff, making cleaning a breeze.
6. Improve Your Social Life
If you have clutter, you may gradually stop inviting over friends and family because you’re too embarrassed about people seeing a messy, disorganized home. In fact, a study conducted for Rubbermaid found that nearly half of homeowners were hesitant to invite friends because of clutter. And if you have kids, you may diminish their social lives by discouraging them from inviting friends.
Plus, there’s the constant fear of someone stopping by unexpectedly, forcing you to invite them into a home you’re ashamed of, or awkwardly engage with them outside with the door shut. Once you kick clutter to the curb, you’ll feel freer to invite people and enjoy seeing spontaneous visitors, without worrying about the clutter around you.
7. Improve Your Health
Clutter can even interfere with your exercise, whether it’s making it harder to find your sneakers, consuming time you need for the gym, or filling up space that could be used for workout equipment. Furthermore, clutter can accumulate dust and be conducive for mold, creating respiratory problems.
8. Reduce Fire Hazards
Not only can clutter drive you crazy, it also poses a major risk to your home. Old paperwork, unworn clothing, and anything stored in cardboard boxes are a few of the many combustible kinds of clutter that can turn into a fiery blaze with just the tiniest spark.
Paper clutter is especially dangerous since it ignites quickly and burns hot, leading to intensely hot fires that spread with deadly speed. Clutter that gets stored in attics or other areas with exposed wiring is especially concerning. Getting rid of clutter also helps you watch for loose paper making contact with power connections, cords, or outlets, another fire hazard.
9. It’s Easy (Even Fun)
Don’t be intimated by decluttering. If you feel overwhelmed, then just focus on one room, a part of a room, or even a single surface at a time. Or make a sweep through a room for things you can throw away, then do it again things you can donate. Any method works, as long as you make measurable progress and you do it frequently. And while it’s not exactly a vacation in the Bahamas, decluttering does have a certain enjoyable appeal.
You’ll rediscover things you’ve lost track of, occasionally reminisce, and maybe even find some stuff you can sell. Plus, you’ll have the upbeat satisfaction of knowing you’re freeing up space and making your home a cleaner, happier place to live.
10. Make and Save Money
When you declutter, there’s a chance you’ll find unneeded stuff that’s worth some cash. Whenever you find something that looks antique, collectable, or otherwise significant, do a quick internet search to determine its value. Just don’t expect a goldmine–most of what people find when decluttering is good for trash or donation only. On the flipside, decluttering can save you money, since you’ll be less likely to buy stuff you already own but can’t find.
11. Nip Hoarding in the Bud
Having clutter doesn’t mean you’re a hoarder, for sure. But in isolated cases, having a huge amount of clutter can turn into hoarding down the road. After all, every hoarder gets started somewhere, and at one point they’re just regular people with some extra stuff around the house. Obviously, there’s no need to panic that you’ll soon be crushed by a tower of stashed newspapers, but getting rid of clutter now is the best way to ensure that things don’t get out of control later. And it’ll spare you any hoarder jokes from your friends, too!
Decluttering doesn’t just clean your home, it cleans your life. By getting rid of excessive stuff, you can reduce stress, remove emotional burden, save time, keep track of things easier, and overall live a healthier, happier lifestyle. With so many benefits, you have plenty to gain from decluttering–so make it a priority and discover a new life without the burden of too much stuff.