6 Ways Decluttering Can Improve Your Wellbeing
Everyone knows that their home is full of a lot of stuff that they don’t want or need, and that it would be a good idea to go through that stuff and get rid of it. It’s also a job that just never becomes a priority, especially when you’re juggling raising a family or working or caring responsibilities or any of the other thousands of things that make up a life.
However, it’s also a job that it is worth making that time for. There are benefits to decluttering that go far beyond simply having a tidy home.
The act of decluttering in itself is energizing and can actually make you more productive. As you move through your home, picking up items and deciding if you should keep them, and if so where they should go, you are performing a series of problem solving and decision making tasks. This subconsciously reinforces your belief in your ability to problem solve and make decisions, which helps you to feel happier and more confident, which in turn improves your energy levels.
If you use decluttering as a way to take short breaks from more intensive tasks you will find that your performance improves. The very act of decluttering means that you will be moving around, as opposed to sitting still while concentrating at a desk, which encourages blood flow, is good for your muscles and joints and helps your brain to work more effectively. Regular short breaks have also been shown to be beneficial as they help lower stress, maintain performance throughout the day and mean that less recovery time is needed at the end of the day.
Although the initial task of decluttering can be easy to put off because of the time it takes, it will ultimately save you time.
Firstly, the less clutter you have in your house the less time you will have to spend cleaning it. If your surfaces aren’t littered with knick knacks, you won’t need to move them and reposition them every time you run round with the duster, and if your cupboards aren’t full to bursting you won’t inadvertently create an avalanche of miscellaneous stuff every time you open them. If you can cut down on your cleaning time, then you can spend more time doing the things that are actually important to you, which is incredibly important for your wellbeing.
Secondly, if you have less stuff in your home then it means that you are less likely to lose things. You will be able to easily tell where your possessions are from a quick scan of the room, rather than having to root through piles of rubbish.
Extra Spending Money
Going through the things in your home and selling what you don’t need can end up making you more money than you might think, if you are thoughtful about selling your items on.
For good quality undamaged clothing, choose a site that specializes in selling clothes such as thredUP, or Kidizen for children's clothing. If you choose the right site, you will find a trove of bargain hunters just waiting to pounce on what you’re selling!
For books eBay and Amazon are a great bet. If you spend a little time looking at the market value for the particular title and edition, you’ll see that it’s usually possible to make a profit. In particular textbooks can be worth a great deal, as can collectible editions and of course first editions.
If you don’t fancy spending time listing your old stuff online to sell it, or you would rather it was used for more altruistic purposes, then donating your things to charity is a wonderful thing to do. Your unwanted items can make a great deal of difference to the lives of other people if you donate them in the right way.
If you have good quality clothing, meaning clothing that is not ripped, worn or stained, that you are no longer wearing then donating is a great way to do some good. The items you donate are sold on either in a thrift store or online, and the profit is used to fund employment training and job placement services to people in your community. It’s really important that Goodwill donations are genuinely of good quality, otherwise the staff there will end up having to throw them away which actually costs them more time.
If you have an old car, boat, motorbike or RV then you can use it to help change the lives of at-risk teenagers and families living in Wisconsin. Co-founded by Packers and NFL hall of fame star Bart Starr, The Rawhide donation center in Green Bay will pick up your used vehicle, or you can arrange to drop it off, and you will get a tax deduction which is on average 48% higher than other car donation services.
Like clothing, books can be donated to Goodwill. Or if you prefer you could donate them to a charitable organization specializing in books.
Furniture can be donated to a multitude or organizations, including The National Furniture Bank Association who provide furniture to struggling families across the U.S. and Canada. Donations to The National Furniture Bank can be gently used, but should still be in good condition.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Studies have found a direct link between cortisol and clutter. Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone’, the hormone that leaves you feeling anxious and which, at high levels, can cause depression.
If there are high levels of clutter, your mind automatically registers this as a task that you will need to do in the future, which causes stress to build.
A messy home can also chip away at your self esteem. Every time you look at that pile of books to be sorted, or that stack of dishes to be washed, you feel a minute amount of guilt. Multiply this by every task left undone in the home, and you can see how a lot of clutter would leave you feeling low.
Improves Physical Health
The less clutter you have in your home, the less places there are for dust to gather. Dust is mostly made up of the dead skin cells which are shed by your family members and pets, but it is also made up of household chemicals such as the cleaning products you use. Research is still underway to ascertain exactly what the long term impact of this is, but keeping your home as free from dust as possible is definitely a good thing for your health.