DECLUTTERING AS SELF-CARE: CLEAR CLUTTER TO FEEL BETTER
Decluttering might not be the most exciting form of self-care that springs to mind! Yet, it’s one of the most effective ways of making you feel better in the long term. In this article, we explore decluttering as self-care and why clearing your clutter has such a positive impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing.
DECLUTTERING AS SELF-CARE
When we think about self-care we tend to imagine spa treatments, holidays, going to the hairdressers, reading a book, meditating and other activities that generally make us feel good. Yet, there’s a form of self-care which isn’t talked about much and it’s certainly not what most of us would think about doing if we had a few minutes to ourselves!
Wondering what I’m talking about? Well, it’s not the slightly guilt-inducing, luxury self-care that social media would encourage us to take. And there’s really no way of making it sound more appealing! So, let’s call it out for what it is… Decluttering!
I know, it doesn’t sound very enticing and probably not what you’d consider spending your precious free time doing, but creating a clutter-free home environment can actually be one of the most beneficial forms of self-care. Read on and we’ll explore the relationship between decluttering and self-care!
WHAT IS CLUTTER?
Before we look at decluttering as self-care and why clearing your clutter is such a fantastic way of looking after yourself for the long term, I think it might be helpful to understand what clutter is.
Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your home that catches the dust, trips you up or gets in your way. Clutter is more than just piles of paperwork and too many emails in your inbox.
Clutter is really anything that you don’t need, don’t love, doesn’t add value or support you and your life in a meaningful way. More than that, clutter is what distracts and removes you from your life and what’s important to you in it.
Clutter could be negative thoughts, unsupportive relationships, too many activities in your diary, too many tasks on your list of errands for the day. Clutter is definitely too much stuff sitting on your kitchen worktop and too many toys that aren’t played with.
“Clearing clutter— be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual— brings about ease and inspires a sense of peace, calm and tranquility.”
Laurie Buchanan, PhD
In short, clutter is too much of the things you don’t want or need but exactly how you define what those things are is up to you. If you’re not sure what’s cluttering up your life, here are a couple of articles to help you decide:
Clutter isn’t just what you can see. It’s what builds up in our lives without us realising and contributes to us feeling worn down and worn out to varying degrees.
Addressing that clutter is why decluttering is a great form of self-care.
DECLUTTERING AS SELF-CARE
Here are some ways you can think of decluttering as self-care.
1. Reduces stress
Scientific studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between clutter and stress. You can read more about the research here, but in summary, when our environments are cluttered with too much stuff our stress levels rise. Clear the clutter and our stress levels reduce which helps us feel better.
2. Improves mental health
Decluttering has some wonderful mental health benefits, including reducing anxiety and making us feel happier, calmer and more in control. In turn, these support us to embrace life and its opportunities in a positive way. Read more about how clutter affects mental health.
3. Helps us sleep better
A calmer, more restful environment is better for helping us to unwind at the end of the day and enjoy a peaceful and better night’s sleep. Visual distraction from too much clutter and bright TV screens can affect the body’s natural rhythms. Read more about how to declutter your bedroom.
4. Reduces distraction and increases focus
If you have a tidy desk, it’s more likely you’ll be more productive and get your work done effectively and efficiently. There won’t be things to distract you, pull you away from the task at hand or cause you to lose sight of what you’re doing and lose focus. Too much clutter, whether it’s on your desk or more generally in your home and life, makes it difficult to concentrate, either on your work or on your life or self in general.
5. Boosts self-esteem
If your home looks good, you might feel good too. You might feel proud of your home when visitors come around, happy to spend time in a space that supports you, efficient because you can find things easier and pleased to receive compliments about how tidy and clear your home looks.
6. Improved well-being
A clearer kitchen, for example, might encourage you to cook more and choose heathy food options because it’s more enjoyable cooking in a clear and tidy space. A clutter-free home might enable you to carve out space for your yoga mat or a quiet corner for meditation, instead of having to move stuff around or aside to squeeze in a place for you.
7. Better work-life balance
If you work from home, a decluttered home might allow you more space to create a separate room, corner of a room or desk in a room for your work, instead of perching on the kitchen counter or with your laptop on your knees surrounded by the clutter of home and daily life. Read more about how to organise your home office space if you work from home.
8. More calm and peace
A clutter-free home tends to be a calmer,more peaceful place. You have less clutter on the floors and table-tops, a clearer line of sight, more space and energy to flow from room-to-room. This helps your home feel more relaxing, welcoming and generally a calmer, more peaceful place to be. A calmer outer environment hopefully helps to create a calmer inner environment within you. Read more about how to create calm family home.
9. More time
A decluttered home is easier to look after, tidy and clean. It has less stuff in it that requires your attention and things that need moving, tidy and clearing. That means you have more time to do other things that you want to do. Perhaps you could try these 10-minute self-care ideas when you do have time?
10. More energy
Instead of using your energy to manage your home, you might now have more energy for exercise, playing with the kids and generally enjoying life. A better night’s sleep might also contribute to better energy levels too!
11. More freedom
My home used to take up a lot of my time, energy and thought. With less clutter and stuff to look after, I now find I have more freedom in all these areas to do other things. I’m no longer tied to home and what’s in it and think nothing of going for a day out leaving the housework undone, because I can do it tomorrow instead (without facing a backlog!)
Self-care is about doing what you want and need to do to feel good. It’s about restoring your body and mind to a positive state even after a busy day, so that you’re ready for whatever life throws at you next!
There are plenty of more traditional ways you can practice a little self-care but I’d encourage you to add decluttering to your list!
It doesn’t matter whether you have a whole weekend to spare or just 10 minutes, tackling the clutter in your home is a great way of creating more time, energy and freedom for you.
Decluttering is self-care for the long term, making life generally easier and simpler, rather than just sticking a plaster on the problem which only provides short term relief.
RESOURCES FOR DECLUTTERING
If you’d like to explore what decluttering your home and life could mean for you, here are some resources which you might find helpful:
- 20 ways to declutter your home
- How to declutter fast
- 18 signs you are too busy – and what to do about it
- 20 daily habits for a clutter-free home
- Declutter Starter Kit – a free guide and workbook to help you understand the what, why and how of decluttering. Projects, tips and guidance to clear the clutter in your home and life.
- Simplify Your Home is a complete decluttering course in digital downloadable PDF format to help you declutter and streamline your entire home.