5 LIFE-CHANGING BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME AND LIFE
Clearing the clutter in my own home and life has had powerful impact way beyond simply getting rid of my stuff and creating more space. Learn more about my experience and 5 life-changing benefits of decluttering your home and your life.
Decluttering my home and my life has been one of the most liberating and impactful things I’ve ever done. Clearing the physical clutter that takes up space in my home to clearing the clutter in my life, in all its shapes and forms, has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and a huge learning experience.
I’d like to share my own experience and some of the benefits of decluttering I’ve discovered in this post with you.
If you’re on the fence about whether decluttering might be right for you, how to get started or how to get unstuck when you’ve lost motivation, you have a lot of stuff or time is tight, I hope this post inspires and encourages you.
I’ve also included some links to further reading and resources which you might find helpful.
Firstly, though, I’d like to explain what decluttering is and set the scene for how it can impact your life…
WHAT IS DECLUTTERING?
Busy, everyday life has a habit of creeping up on us. We fill our days with things to do, places to be and people to see.
Whether you have a busy family, a job, parents to care for, friends to support, hobbies and interests, volunteer work – as we get older our time seems to fly by quicker than ever.
In short, our schedule becomes cluttered with a barrage of things that require our attention and less free time for us to do whatever we want, whenever we want.
Just as our diaries fill up, so too do our homes.
They may well be where the heart is, but for many of us, our home is also where our stuff resides. The furniture, the books, the paperwork, toys, clothes.
Our homes are the backdrop for our family life and they bear the brunt of all the comings and goings of that busy life and the stuff that we acquire along the way.
We have to move, clear and clean all that stuff. We have to store it, organise and look at it.
We fill our homes, like we fill our diaries – often without realising it.
Added to pressures on our time and homes that need looking after, many of us have jobs and family to juggle. We have To Do lists, bills to pay, fridges to fill, relationships that need work, worries, frustrations, things to remember.
From the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep, we have decisions to make, problems to sort, errands to run. These things push and pull us in different directions, busy the mind and place constant demands on our bodies and brains.
Decluttering our homes and our life is a way to address and balance all the above.
It’s not a magic wand to make everything easy and perfect, but it makes things eas-IER.
Decluttering is about getting rid of everything that doesn’t align with what you want from life.
It’s asking some simple questions about what you have and do in life. If it adds value in some way, you keep it in. If it doesn’t, you let it go.
THE BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING AND WHY IT WORKS
Decluttering is so much more than just getting rid of things. Although it’s a popular way of streamlining and organising your stuff and keeping a neat and tidy home, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Studies have shown that clutter increases stress levels and confuses and distracts the mind. You can read more about the negative effects of clutter here.
Our external environments have a big impact on our inner environments, making life a little easier and helping us feel a little better too.
Here are some examples in my own life:
- I get more work done when I’m not distracted by multiple browser tabs on my computer.
- I achieve more when my To Do list is limited to a few tasks which I absolutely need to do, rather than a long list which seems too daunting to even begin.
- I can clean my kitchen easier when the worktops are clear.
- I can get dressed quicker when all I have to do in the morning is reach into my wardrobe knowing that everything in there fits and suits me well.
When I have less stuff then what I do have is more important. I use it more, look after it more carefully and it serves me better in return.
Decluttering is about clearing your inner and outer environments of the things that just confuse and distract. The stuff you don’t use that takes up your space, your time, your wardrobe, your kitchen counter, your desktop. Yes, even your mind!
There are many benefits of decluttering. It’s not about getting rid of things just for the sake of it.
Decluttering is about getting rid of things that don’t add value to your life to make space for the things that do.
The things that help and lift you up in life, rather than the things which get in the way or bring you down.
This, to me, is why there are many benefits of decluttering both your home and your life. Clearing the clutter has been truly life-changing!
5 LIFE-CHANGING BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME AND LIFE
Decluttering my home led me to declutter my life in a series of small, but deliberate choices. You can read more about my decluttering journey over here.
I decluttered my time, my mind, my phone and all manner of things using the same basic principles. Does XXX add value to my life or does it just get in the way?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s an email in my inbox, a book on my shelf, or an invite to coffee with a friend. If it sits heavy on my heart then I make an intentional choice to say no thanks, not today.
Although I hit a few stumbling blocks along the way, decluttering my home and my life had huge, powerful benefit. The benefits of decluttering will be different from person to person but I’d like to share my own with you here in case you’re looking for inspiration to try it for yourself…
THE BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME AND YOUR LIFE
1. MORE TIME
If you’ve been around me a while, you might know that time management is a little mini passion of mine. It’s not so much that I love to micro-manage my life in minute detail or be super-organised (although I can’t deny that I have a tendency for both!).
The real reason that I love to talk about time is because it’s perhaps our most limited resource. I often quote Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our life.”
If you think about it for a moment, it’s a hugely powerful thought:
- Think about what you were doing this time last week.
- How did you spend yesterday?
- What did you do with any spare time you found for yourself?
- How many minutes did you spend browsing social media feeds?
- Did you manage to do that one thing you were meaning to do?
How much of that time was dictated to you by busy life and how much of that time was spent doing things you wanted to do and were actually able to do?
Time is often the commodity that we spend most easily and invest least wisely but decluttering my home and my life helped me carve out more time.
- Less time clearing and cleaning my home because, quite frankly, there was less stuff to clear and clean.
- Less time doing things and more time getting stuff done. Sound back to front? Well, you can be busy doing lots of things but not actually getting anything done. You can be busy doing all the things but not necessarily busy doing the right things.
- Decluttering my calendar meant that I didn’t have so much to do. What I did choose to do, was important and got done.
- Less stuff on my To Do list meant I could actually tick things off my list and feel like I’d achieved something.
More time created by decluttering my home and, in this case, my diary, allowed me to feel and experience things that my cluttered schedule wouldn’t have allowed…
More time for going out, being with family and friends, exploring hobbies, reading books, taking care of myself, watching the birds feed from the bird table, whatever I felt like doing at that moment in time.
Decluttering my home and my life meant that time became my friend rather than my enemy.
2. LESS STRESS
More time gave me more wiggle room, more leeway in case things went wrong, more time to look after myself, more time to prioritise what needed to be done so I wasn’t always playing catch up.
All of these things helped to create a life that was freer and less overwhelming. I wasn’t stretched so thin that the slightest little upset would tip me over the edge.
I still had things to think about and things to do, but this was balanced out by having less of the things that brought me down and more of the things that lifted me up.
- I was happier, calmer, more present and more at ease with my life.
- I felt in control instead of chasing my tail.
The impact of less stress on me had a huge knock-on effect to the rest of my family. I shouted less, I played with my kids more, I invested more time with loved ones.
I wasn’t just flying from A to B, physically or emotionally.
If not for my family, for me personally this was huge.
3. DEEPER, STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS
You can buy many things but the best things in life are free. This includes true, deep and meaningful relationships.
Throughout my decluttering journey, I’ve always worked and had a busy family, 2 kids of my own and step kids that visit every weekend. This is just the way my life is and I’ve made many changes, but these factors remain constant.
I still have to juggle work, kids and busy family life but as I have more time and less stress, one of the next biggest benefits has been to strengthen and deepen my most meaningful relationships.
- I spend more time playing with my kids, talking to them and bonding with them. I’m no longer doing housework when they want me to build Lego, I’m not cooking dinner when they need help with homework. We have film night every Saturday night instead of me catching up on work.
- I spend more time with my husband. Relaxing in the evening, chatting about the day instead of folding laundry or catching up on paperwork.
- I have more time for friends, having a laugh, sharing troubles or whatever I (and they) need at the time.
I’m an introvert and I definitely need alone time to process and recharge but at the same time I value my loved ones and hold them close. Family and friends that support you and who support you back, no matter what, are beyond measure.
Decluttering my home and my life gave me the time and space to nurture my most important relationships and really be there for the people who I love and play such an important role in my life.
4. MORE LOVE
One of the surprising benefits of decluttering my home and my life was to create more love.
I don’t just mean love for my kids, my husband, my family or friends. I mean love for myself and appreciation for life.
I stopped spending time doing housework, saying yes to every invitation or reading every email. I started to spend time doing things I hadn’t done before. Things that became important to me.
- I started walking every day, planning my meals and eating better, spending less and saving more.
- I started new routines, using my time better in the mornings and evenings.
- I read more books, took a nap if I wanted to, snuggled on the sofa instead of cleaning the kitchen floor.
- I spent more time on looking after myself, decorating my home with care and attention, paying myself more care and attention.
- On busy days, I cut myself some slack and went to bed earlier with a book. It only took a few moments to reset my home for bedtime so I had more time for reading.
Looking after myself became more of a priority because I was no longer riddled with guilt that I wasn’t being more productive, especially when I had so many things to do and sort. Much of that had just been clutter anyway.
I had less clutter to deal with so it meant I had more freedom to do the things I wanted to, instead of just what I had to. And, if that meant putting me first every now and then, well that’s what I did. I’d created enough margin to look after me without feeling like I was neglecting my home and my family.
I learnt to love myself again, without feeling guilty.
5. PERSONAL GROWTH
When you love something, you nurture and tend to it. You speak kind words over it and invest time, energy and even more love.
With nurture comes growth.
I wasn’t content with treading water, the status quo, keeping my head above water. I was fed up feeling a combination of frustration, tiredness and like I was doing something wrong in life if this was what it was meant to be like. I swapped all that for some exciting new thoughts.
What did I want out of life? How could I make an impact? What could I really achieve if I put my mind to it? Even, what makes me happy and how can I do it more often?
These were questions that my old worn out, worn down self would have pushed aside, afraid to ask the questions and even more afraid to know the answers.
Decluttering my home and my life has given me space in so many ways – in my home, heart and mind. That space gave me the freedom to think of other things than what’s for dinner tonight and when did I last put a load of laundry on.
I still have to think about these things but the context is different.
- I get tired, but I’m not running on empty.
- I get frustrated, but hey, things don’t always go right.
- I had a busy day, but tomorrow I’m spending half an hour in the evening doing something for me.
- I’ve been happy today, tomorrow I’m doing it again.
- That thing I’m doing tomorrow evening, is going to help me… train for a new career/write a book/ learn to kickbox/come up with a new recipe for dinner/change the world (or whatever you choose).
A decluttered home and life gives you time and space to experience things that lift you up instead of just dealing with the things that bring you down.
It helps you define the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of what makes you happy and fulfilled.
The problem is, when our lives are full of clutter, our focus is drawn away from happy and fulfilled to firefighting problems. And too much of this means we lose sight of what makes us happy and fulfilled.
YOUR NEXT STEP
The benefits of decluttering will look different for everyone and my list might look different to someone else’s. However, I hope some of what I’ve shared inspires you to try decluttering your own home and life, in whatever way that means to you, even if it’s one app or book at a time!
Here are some resources which might help…
- Declutter Starter Kit – a free workbook packed with advice, tips and projects to help you understand the impact of clutter, clear your stuff and keep it away.
- 1-week Declutter Challenge – small bite-sized information and support dropped into your inbox to help you tackle the main clutter hot-spots and kick-start your own decluttering journey.