The 3 Most Surprising Reasons to Declutter
When people talk about getting organized, they are likely motivated by an episode of Hoarders. They suddenly realize there may be clothes in the closet that don’t fit. There’s food in the pantry that has long expired. And if they had to, they couldn’t say with absolute certainty when they last were able to clean in the corners of those closets. Their greatest fear is that they may become – or be perceived as – those people on TV. TV is great for shock value, and we as humans respond. In reality, there are only 3 – 5% of people who are diagnosed with hoarding disorder. But there are many more who live unknowingly with the harmful effects of clutter. Did you know?
- Clutter makes us chubby. A recent Australian-US study found that we are more likely to eat snacks and sweets when we choose our food from within an environment that is chaotic, and makes us feel stressed and out of control.
- We can’t think straight. Physical clutter creates mental clutter i.e. what we see on the outside, is a reflection of what is happening inside. Mental clutter is a state of mind whereby we are unable to filter out unnecessary information. Have you ever tried to accomplish a task – pleasant or otherwise – in a cluttered environment? How did it go? I know this is one the female entrepreneur, working from home, can definitely identify with. It’s hard to complete a marketing plan when shoes are spilling out across the front foyer and piles of paper greet us at every corner. The visual stimuli are completely overwhelming.
- Clutter makes us sad. A 2016 study conducted by the University of New Mexico looked at our perception of our home and how it translated into our sense of overall happiness. NB: the home is not merely the physical structure you live in, but an intricate web of experiences and feelings. Have you ever spent time in a cozy chalet, or visited a friend and found yourself thinking that your surroundings were homey? You didn’t feel like you were in your own home; you felt comfort, warmth, peace. That’s what we’re talking about when we say home. It’s that intangible state of Zen.
But when your home is cluttered, you can’t identify with that feeling of Zen. Your retreat is threatened, compromised. As a result, your overall feelings of happiness, safety and wellbeing are diminished.
So you see, decluttering isn’t just about being house proud, or inflexible. It’s not about colour-coordinating throw pillows. It’s about creating a setting in which we can be our best selves: feeling good, thinking clearly, and making healthy choices. It’s about achieving that sense of peace when we walk through the door at the end of a long and demanding day. It’s about waking up with the clarity and energy to take on the world. Sounds good to me.