When you’re trying to relax and clear your mind, the distraction caused by clutter can make it very difficult. Instead of unwinding and taking a breather, you’re pressed with the feeling that you should be doing more, whatever that may be.
None of this is conducive to a good night’s rest, especially if you’re someone who struggles with racing thoughts and insomnia.
Taking the time to declutter your living space can help you sleep better, night after night. So, if you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, a good place to start might be right where you are, at home.
And remember, if you aren’t able to declutter on your own due to a busy schedule or other limitations, Ducks in a Row offers a variety of services to help you achieve your organizing goals.
The Psychology of Clutter
Before you push forward with a thorough clean, it may be helpful to figure out what’s truly behind the build-up of clutter.
Accumulating clutter is often directly associated with the state of a person’s mental health. Clutter essentially works on a negative feedback loop. The more clutter there is, the harder it becomes to clean up, and the more clutter accumulates.
Clutter can be a byproduct of stress, anxiety, and/or feelings of overwhelm. In some cases, piled- on clutter can be a sign of a mental health issue, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may be navigating through a life change, such as a move, a birth, a loss, or a new job, and the adjustment process has pushed cleaning to the wayside. (And if that’s the case, that’s okay!)
There are many reasons why a person may accumulate clutter, some of which include:
- a belief that the items hold sentimental value
- anxiety associated with getting rid of the items
- feelings of comfort attached to possessions
- the idea of purging is overwhelming
Benefits of Being Clutter-Free
While it can feel almost impossible to get started with decluttering your living space, you can be sure the benefits are worthwhile.
First and foremost, a clutter-free home is associated with a better quality of sleep. Without so many distractions surrounding you, you’ll be able to cultivate a more calming environment that invites relaxation; this is the opposite effect that clutter produces. With a better night’s rest, your days will be affected in a positive way. In fact, a deeper, more satisfying night’s sleep can change your entire approach toward life.
Second, removing clutter from your home can help you with overcoming procrastination in general. Once you get the ball rolling on one project, it’s easier to get started on others. Goal completion, whether big or small, can lead to greater life satisfaction.
Third, removing clutter can boost feelings of creativity. Have plans for an art piece, a home renovation project, or a friendly get-together? By nixing the clutter, you may find that you have the motivation to finally push these “one-day” projects into the here and now.
5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but the itty-bitty steps that lead toward change do. If you find yourself struggling to get rid of old, worn, or unused possessions, and aren’t sure how to get started, consider these five easy ways to declutter your home.
1. Start Small
The key to decluttering is not to overwhelm yourself. Chances are, if you’re surrounded by clutter, you’re already overwhelmed or easily become so.
Instead of tackling the entire house in a single afternoon, start with small, concentrated areas such as the kitchen junk drawer, a bathroom cabinet, or a single closet rack. After you’re done, give yourself a break before moving on to the next project. Maybe even wait until the next day before doing so.
2. Get Rid of Everything That’s Expired
Expiration or “best by” dates aren’t only reserved for food products. If you look, you’ll find there are expiration dates on cosmetics, sunscreen, bug spray, skin cream, detergent, hand sanitizer, loofahs, paint, hydrogen peroxide, liquor, and more.
Start off this step in your tidying-up journey by sorting through your kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, and lazy Susan and discarding all expired products. Then, move to the bathroom cabinets and/or hallway closet and do the same. You’ll probably be surprised with the amount of unusable items collecting dust.
3. Tackle Paper Products
A spontaneous visit to even the neatest of homes would reveal a pile of random papers strewn about somewhere.
With paper products received daily in the mail (the average household receives three pieces of paper mail each day), there’s certainly an opportunity for mail-opening to fall by the wayside. The result is almost always a pile of outdated bills, coupons, catalogs, and magazines that only succeed in collecting more dust.
Do yourself a favor and tackle these piles on the outset of your decluttering project. You may find that you have paper piles in various areas of your home, including in backpacks, purses, and bags. Go through them all, and take your time doing so, so none of the papers wind up shuffled about the house.
4. Donate Clothes You No Longer Wear
Many folks are guilty of holding on to clothes that are no longer worn – and perhaps haven’t been for five to 10 years or more!
You may tell yourself these clothes “will come back in style one day,” that you’ll lose or gain the weight needed to fit into old sizes, or that a family member may eventually want these hand-me- downs. While all of these notions may prove true, the unnecessary clutter will remain in the meantime. It’s best to save yourself the hassle by sifting through your closet, donating pieces that were lightly worn or never worn, and making room for clothes that fit the current version of yourself.
Wondering how much clothes you realistically need? According to a 2020 international survey, most people own an average of 148 clothing items. A collection like this may translate to 62 shirts, 25 pants, 18 dresses, 17 outerwear pieces, seven skirts, and 20 shoes, which is more than enough to last you a month of wear without having to repeat outfits.
5. Go Through Drawers and Cabinets, One by One
You likely have drawers and cabinets located throughout your home. From kitchen and bathroom cabinets, to dresser and desk drawers, there are plenty of places to store, stockpile, and sometimes forget personal belongings.
While tackling all the drawers in your home is certainly grounds for fast-escalating stress, you can take it step by step by sorting through one drawer at a time. Once you finish one drawer, you can move to another if you feel up to it. If not, reserve the next drawer for the next day. It’s okay to extend a cleaning project over a longer period of time, so long as progress is being made.
There are a myriad of drawer organizers on the market to make sorting easier, whether you’re stashing kitchen utensils or separating socks from underwear. Consider what will work best for you in your space and feel free to experiment with different ideas.
Slow Progress Is Still Progress
If you’ve been overlooking the clutter-filled areas of your home up to this point, then it’s probably because it feels too daunting of a task to get started. You’re not alone. However, taking small steps toward your goal will help you generate momentum and visualize success in action.
Without unnecessary clutter hijacking space in your mind, you’ll find that you’re able to relax and drift off to sleep easier than you would otherwise. After all, your direct environment is often a reflection of your mind, and if your living space is tranquil, then it’ll help to encourage the same for your mind.
Give yourself the gift of a better night’s sleep at no cost to you by purging your home of unneeded belongings. After all, you deserve it.