For a long time, I tried telling myself to ignore the clutter and get on with things, but the mental games it played on me were hard to ignore. I started doing small amounts of decluttering here and there and noticed a change.
I thought I was a bit strange to feel so glum because of clutter, but a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin proved my feelings right. The study looked at 60 women in their homes. Those women who lived in cluttered homes or homes that had unfinished projects were more likely to feel depressed and fatigued than the women in tidy and finished homes. The study also found that the women living with clutter experienced higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
When you’re busy, often the last thing you feel like doing is decluttering, but let’s look at it as an essential approach to better health. Even just a small amount of decluttering can work wonders. Here are a few places you can start.
Decluttering tips for better health
When you’re busy, it’s essential that you don’t overwhelm yourself by pulling absolutely everything out of every cupboard. Break it down into small tasks and focus on each task for a set amount of time each day/week/weekend. Clear your bathroom benchtop, clean out the pantry, organise your coffee table or sort out your junk drawer to get started.
Rates notices, telephone bills, bank statements, they all become clutter on your kitchen bench that gets moved around and around and eventually stuffed somewhere else only for it to pile up. Opt to receive them via email and don’t print them. The same goes for things like writing lists or jotting down messages. Opt to use an app instead of a pen and paper.
One in, one out
The ‘one in, one out’ rule is very clever when it comes to managing clutter. If you buy something new, you’re likely buying it to replace something. If this is the case, you should always get rid of the thing it’s replacing.
Baskets, lots of baskets
For me, baskets are a life saver. When I need to do a quick 10 minute declutter, all I have to do is throw all the things into their relevant basket. It’s not one of my minimalist living tips because it’s more like hiding the clutter instead of getting rid of it, but it gives me a tidy house with little effort.
Schedule & prioritise
When super busy, a routine is a lifesaver and ensures that things not only get done but that it’s just part of the flow of things. Scheduling in ‘declutter’ time on the same day and time each week gives it priority amongst all the other tasks on your busy schedule.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘but my husband won’t do it properly’. Yes, that’s probably right (sorry guys), but as insanely busy women we need to forget our idea of perfect, right? If it means asking your husband to go through his wardrobe and pull out what he wants to be donated or getting him to pick out the books he no longer wants, that’s better than no help at all!
I’m certainly guilty of hundreds of purchases made on a whim, but now, I try to catch myself in time and ask myself some important questions like – Do I love it? Do I need it? Will I use it? Do I already have it?
What if just a little bit of decluttering could fend off fatigue, depression and stress? Are you going to give it a try?