CLUTTER [noun] : a disorderly heap; a state of confusion.
Did someone just describe my closet? Oh yeah. Most of us don’t need clutter defined. We have enough of it in our junk drawer, living room, basement, and bedroom. While clutter is easy to amass, it can be tough to get rid of. For some people, it’s physically and mentally painful to clear clutter. But the pain is worth the trouble; clutter kills your creativity, destroys your physical health, and crushes your mental well-being. Read on to see why clutter is bad for you and what you can do about it!
How Clutter Hurts Your Health
Do you have books, magazines, and toys scattered along your stairs? Shelves packed to the max with shoes, bags, and boxes? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen! Not only could you trip and fall, but clutter hurts your body by:
- Aggravating existing allergies. Dust, dirt, and mold love to hide out in piles of stuff.
- Decreasing your odds of exercising. Can’t go for a walk if you can’t find your shoes!
- Lowering your energy level with its overwhelming presence.
“As people start to control the clutter, they begin to take better care of themselves,” says Lynne Gilberg, a professional organizer based out of Los Angeles, CA. Clutter hurts your mental health by:
- Increasing stress and anxiety.
- Keeping new experiences from entering your life.
- Encouraging procrastination.
- Weakening your decision-making ability.
How to Avoid Clutter
I’m not going to tell you that stylish storage furniture, matching bins and boxes, and maybe some labeling materials are your be-all and end-all solution. They’re part of the solution, but they’re not THE solution.
The solution is two-fold. It involves getting rid of stuff and creating an organizational system you can stick to and incorporate into your routine. Even the busiest people can get organized and avoid clutter with these daily practices:
Give everything a home.
Whatever your mess is made of (old mail, pairs of shoes, video games, necklaces) make sure everything lives somewhere. Here’s where the baskets and bins come in!
Be the clutter cop.
Stop clutter from coming into your home by getting right to the source—you. Say no to freebies you don’t really need, choose to borrow/reuse/rent instead of buying, and opt out of magazine subscriptions you don’t really need. Keep clutter from entering life from the very start!
Ditch any duplicates.
Do you really need four Bundt pans, three curling irons, and 40 nail polish colors? Donating duplicate items is one of the fastest ways to cut clutter. Studies have shown, in fact, that having more choices can make you less satisfied with your decision. More isn’t always better.
We all deal with clutter. I’d say it’s a part of the human condition, but it doesn’t have to be. We have the power to change our homes, our shopping habits, and improve our physical and mental health while doing it. Let’s clear our clutter and enjoy our home. So whaddya say…are you with me?