Tis the season to declutter! After hectic holiday schedules wind down, I always find myself turning an eye to the clutter we’ve accumulated throughout the year, and I know I’m not alone. Decluttering can just plain make a room look nicer, but there are also some surprising benefits of decluttering.
How do we accumulate so much stuff throughout the year? I’m not a big shopper, yet somehow we end up bursting at the seams. It’s like we are goldfish, filling our homes to maximum capacity. Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to take stock and get rid of some stuff.
How to Declutter
If you need some help decluttering, don’t panic! This article has some helpful tips. It’s fall-oriented, but you can easily translate the tips to work for winter.
When we declutter around here, I use a method that I learned from a home improvement show whose name has long-since left my brain. When going through a room, we separate things into three categories:
For whatever reason, separating things this way helps me work through junk drawers, backs of closets and corners of rooms that I’ve been ignoring for months. I hope it helps you, too!
It can also be helpful to keep your eye on the prize. Decluttering feels good, when it’s done, and keeping the important benefits of decluttering below in mind can help you stay on track during the “it gets worse before it gets better” part of the process.
Benefits of Decluttering
1. Less clutter equals less stress.
A cluttered home can make you feel disorganized and out of control. There’s something just plain calming about a tidy living space.
Clutter also makes it easier to lose things, which can be stressful. Have you ever torn apart the house looking for your keys, only to find them under a pile of papers on your desk that shouldn’t have been there in the first place? Just me?
2. You’ll save money.
A prime example of clutter costing money just popped up in my kitchen last night. My husband came home from work with a bag of groceries, including a box of green tea. This box looked incredibly familiar to me, and we discovered that, buried under a mountain of spice jars and other boxes of tea in the pantry, we had another (unopened) box of that exact same tea.
An extra $4 box of tea might not seem like much, but little things like that happen all the time when your living space is cluttered, and those small expenses add up.
3. There will be less cleaning to do.
Less clutter means less housework. It means fewer knickknacks to collect dust and fewer places for dust bunnies to hide. According to the National Cleaning Institute (formerly the National Soap and Detergent Association), clutter can add up to 40 percent to the amount of housework you have to handle.
Forty percent seems pretty high, but even if you’re just shaving 10-15 minutes of dusting off of your cleaning routine, I think decluttering is worth it.
4. Reducing clutter makes you more productive.
Decluttering your home can streamline your life, which gives you more time to get things done. Have you ever been late to work because your kid couldn’t decide on what pair of pants to wear? Or maybe you are still hunting for those keys that are under that pile of paper on your desk (still just me?).
When you have less clutter, you avoid these little hold-ups that make you late, derail your plans and interrupt your creative flow.
5. It’s good for your kids, young and grown.
If your kids are still living at home, clutter can cause them stress and hurt their productivity, just like it does to you. In extreme cases, it can cause your kids extreme anxiety.
This isn’t something we like to think about, but our clutter impacts our kids, even after they move out of the house. As we get older and less able to care for ourselves, that clutter is going to become our kids’ problem. Many adults I know stress about their parents’ cluttered homes, especially if their parents aren’t in the best health.
This kind of stress is tough on its own, but it also comes with a side dish of guilt, because they feel selfish for dwelling on what seems like such a small thing. Care2′s Angela Horn wrote a great article about this issue that’s worth a read.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to finally tackle that embarrassing pile of papers on my desk and donate some knick knacks to the thrift store this weekend.
Related at Care2:
- How Clutter is Harming Your Health
- Declutter Now So Your Kids Won’t Have To
- 6 Unexpected Areas to Declutter