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 decluttering 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 and just distracts you from living your best life.
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)
To decide what clutter means to you, check out this post on What Is Clutter: 7 ways to think about your stuff.
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: 6 REASONS TO CLEAR CLUTTER TO FEEL BETTER
We’ve explored a little bit about what clutter is and why it’s detrimental to our inner and outer environments. Here are 6 more reasons why you should consider decluttering as self-care and try it for yourself!
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 then we become less able to focus, more easily distracted and our stress levels rise.
When there’s less clutter, there’s LESS STRESS so decluttering can reduce your overwhelm and calm you down.
Decluttering as self-care makes you feel less stressed.
2. Gives you more time
When you have less to tidy up and clean, you have more time for other things. Self-care is about being able to switch off from your usual daily To Do list and do something just for you, but often we struggle to find the time to do this. We end up battling with our guilt because (in our minds) we’ve got so much else that we SHOULD be doing (housework, laundry etc) that self-care seems a waste of time.
Decluttering your home means you have less to do and more free TIME on your hands.
Decluttering as self-care gives you more free time.
3. Establishes calm
Building on the first point in this list, too much clutter around us can distract the eye and the mind. We’re visually and mentally stimulated (even if we’re not conscious of it) by too much going on around us.
Remove the clutter and your space takes on a different energy. It becomes CALMER, more peaceful and therefore more relaxing.
Decluttering as self-care makes your environment more calm.
4. Creates freedom
I don’t know about you, but as a mother I’m constantly torn in two conflicting directions. On the one hand, I love my kids and want to spend as much precious time with them as possible whilst they still want me around. On the other hand, I want to scream, escape and just do my own thing sometimes (even if it’s to quickly pop to the shops for milk), without carting around a load of little hangers-on! Sometimes I just crave freedom.
Decluttering your home gives you more free time. Time which isn’t spent tidying and cleaning the home and looking after what’s in it.
More time means more FREEDOM for you to choose how you spend it.
If you want to go for a day out then you can, without worrying about the piles of laundry and dishes you’ve left behind or what you’re coming back to.
Decluttering as self-care lets you enjoy more freedom.
5. Adds value
When you’ve been with the kids all day, or at work all day (or a mix of both), you probably don’t have much energy left. So, you escape for some time out for yourself to practice a little self-care. However, as much as you try to switch off, in the back of your mind you know that you’ve still got chores to do, a home to run and lots of things to do. Sound familiar?!
Time for you isn’t only limited because of the time slot you’ve got, but it’s also limited by your ability to totally switch off and relax into whatever that self-care means to you. However, decluttering your home means that you’re reducing one of the main sources of your stress or one of the biggest sucks on your time – your home and the things in it.
Self-care is important enough but there’s added VALUE if you’re changing the rest of your life too.
Self-care, such as escaping to the coffee shop or painting your nails is important but it won’t make the source of your tiredness or stress go away. Instead, it’s just postponing it or putting it off.
Decluttering as self-care tackles the problem at its root by removing the elements that cause a lot of your stress and tiredness in the first place.
6. Effective and practical
Imagine you manage to get some time to yourself and you decide to hit the shops. More than likely you’ll end up buying things you don’t really need, wasting your money and tiring yourself out. Sometimes we think we just have to buy something because it’s going to make us feel better. It would be a sign of failure to come home empty-handed and a waste of our precious free time. Instead of making you feel better, this kind of self-care is self-sabotaging and just makes us feel worse.
Self-care that just wastes your time and money makes you feel selfish, guilty and resentful.
However, when you practice self-care that’s truly effective, you should feel rejuvenated and energised. Decluttering as self-care is effective because it’s got a practical, valuable end goal.
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:
- How to declutter your home and life – a beginner’s guide to the what, why and how of decluttering.
- 6 tips to help you declutter
- 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.