Clutter can have negative effects on your mental and physical health, exacerbating allergies, depleting your energy, and sending you into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. The act of decluttering is not a new concept, but its health benefits have become increasingly recognized around the world. In fact, having a clean, organized home can be an essential step in improving your overall wellness. Here are six reasons why decluttering is good for your health (and why you should start this process as soon as possible).
1. It alleviates stress and anxiety
Cluttered spaces can create chaos and make you feel stressed about the mess at hand. According to the National Association for Professional Organizers, 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by their cluttered homes. Not only does clutter cause feelings of overwhelmedness, but a disorganized home can make you more irritable and increase stress and anxiety. By decluttering, you can lower your stress and anxiety levels and enjoy a healthier home.
If the act of decluttering seems overwhelming, start small. Toss any expired food in the fridge or get rid of all the junk mail on your counter. In a day or two, take on a bigger project like organizing your closet or making a pile of items to donate.
2. It reduces household allergens
According to House Method, dust, dander, and pet hair have a tendency to collect all over the house, especially on those unused items you have sitting around. Even if you don’t go near these spaces, you could still be exposed to allergens and other impurities, as air from HVAC systems can pick up dust and allergens and redistribute them throughout your house. When you declutter, you remove the places that dust and allergens can gather. First, be sure to change your air filter, as this is the main culprit of aggravating allergies. Next, upgrade your vacuum to one that has HEPA filters and remove or replace all appliances that are just taking up empty space.
3. It improves mental health
Not only can clutter lead to increased levels of stress, but it can also lead to depression and anxiety. One reason for this is because you blame yourself for how out-of-control the mess becomes and start to feel guilty for not being organized. Keep a journal as you clean and declutter, tracking your emotional responses.
How do you feel when you first start out: Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel embarrassed? Take note of how you feel before and after you start cleaning—you should start to see a positive change in mood and energy. If you think you need help with a larger problem associated with the clutter in your home, consider going to a psychologist or counselor who can help you figure out coping skills.
4. It facilitates productivity
Having a cluttered home can make it hard to focus since it makes your brain less effective at processing information. Combat this by taking some time at the beginning (or end) of each day to organize your workspace. Clear your computer desk, put papers away, and make sure your work area is as tidy as possible.
5. It allows you to get a good night’s sleep
If your cluttered home is stressing you out before bed, it can be more challenging to wind down and get the restful sleep that your body and mind require. According to the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, while mental processing is greatly reduced while you sleep, parts of your brain are still interpreting external stimuli. Clear your bedroom of any working projects, like laundry that needs to be folded or assignments that need to be completed. This will trick your brain into thinking that it’s time for rest and will send you into a deep sleep that improves complicated decision-making and memory processing skills.
6. It relieves financial pressure
Decluttering often means more than just redistributing or organizing your existing possessions. Once you’ve gotten rid of everything you don’t need in your home, start thinking about the things you bring into your home, especially if you’re susceptible to impulse shopping. Take control of your spending by making a list of items you buy in a week, organizing your budget, and determining how many of the items you buy are actually necessities. By getting clarity on this matter, you’ll be able to become focused on where your finances are going and will stress less about paying for insignificant objects.