“Having a simplified and uncluttered home is a form of self-care.” - Emma - Simple, Slow & Lovely
What impact does your ‘stuff’ have on you physically, emotionally and mentally?
From personal safety and mental health to finances and relationships, I often see how clutter can affect people, regardless of their age, gender, financial or marital status or lifestyle.
A 2010 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that those with cluttered homes showed higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) than those who have tidier surroundings.
According to an IKEA study, almost 86% of people claim that having their house in order creates a pleasant feeling of wellbeing.
How can decluttering form part of your self-care and wellbeing routine and bring more peace and calm to your life?
Imagine your ideal home – most likely it is a serene space, somewhere you enjoy spending time, in peaceful, cosy surroundings and not a cluttered, untidy, crowded place. Are you imagining your ideal home as a storage place for lots of stuff? Probably not.
Letting go of the excess and clearing out the things you don’t like, need, or use lets you focus your space and attention on the things that are most important to you. Decluttering helps you to take control of your surroundings, simplify your space, streamline your belongings and put you in a better headspace.
Furthermore, you will become more time affluent, after all, we do spend an average of 5,000 hours of our lives looking for things around the home! This wastes time and causes unnecessary stress. Clutter-free living and an organised space mean you can easily find what you are looking for and avoid becoming stressed and under pressure. Finding simple items like your keys or your phone in the exact place you expect is a small but significant daily win.
And while you can save time by heading to the right drawer every time you are looking for your stuff, you can save even more time and money by having fewer things to store, clean and maintain. Double the benefit and a peaceful space to live your life in!
Some areas of the home are especially important. A clutter-free bedroom can promote better sleep and reduce anxiety, while a well-organised kitchen, meal plan and shopping list can make it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan.
If you want to gather some momentum whilst avoiding feelings of overwhelm, a ‘little and often’ approach to decluttering is ideal. Micro-tidying is one of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve a tidy and organised home. Working in bite-sized chunks, you simply concentrate on effectively decluttering and organising small sections, one step at a time. Here are some tips to help you simplify your space.
1. Aim to keep surfaces as clear and clutter-free as possible. Taking 5 minutes to deal with the day’s post (do this near the recycling bin if you can!) means it doesn’t build up in the hallway. This also helps you stay clear and current when it comes to personal admin, bills that need paid etc.
2. A daily load of laundry keeps things ticking over and minimises an accumulation. It also means you don’t need a huge amount of clothing, as the turnaround is fairly quick. Folding and putting away the previous load can be a mindful, calming activity and is a chance to let your mind wander.
3. Go through your clothing, section by section, and sift out items that can be sold, donated or recycled. This needn’t be done in one day but perhaps stick on a playlist and commit to doing three songs’ worth of purging. Focus on bite-sized chunks – socks in one session, t-shirts the next, and so on. Bear in mind that 80% of clothing that sits in wardrobes is inactive, so this is an opportunity to be realistic about what you actually wear in real life and let go of the items that don’t fit your current dress size or lifestyle.
4. Setting aside some time to go through make up, toiletries or your medicine cabinet is a chance to clear those that are past their expiration date or no longer required. Out of date meds can be handed into pharmacies for disposal, expired make up packaging can be recycled via Maybelline’s recycling stations and unopened toiletries can be donated to Boots hygiene banks or via organisations linked with Toiletries Amnesty