The Health Benefits Of Decluttering
Hello and welcome to the show!
This is part two of last week’s episode when I talked about what you were tolerating, all your messes, and all your in-completes. So let’s get into the art of tidying up and also talk about the health benefits of doing so.
Would you be surprised to learn that a number of health benefits are associated with being organised?
According to WebMD, taking a few minutes to organise your space during a slump in your day can give you a much-needed energy boost. Allowing yourself a few moments to get your desk or workspace organised can help you to work more energetically for the rest of the day. Interestingly, a study from Psychological Science found people who are organised also have better-eating habits. Avoid snacking on junk food at your desk by keeping it free from clutter. You’ll be more likely to opt for an apple than that cherry ripe, which are favourite by the way! One good choice often leads to another!
Brushing up on your organisational skills can positively impact your sleep. This benefit is twofold. A clutter-free space is more relaxing and invites rest. Additionally, being organised will prevent you from lying awake thinking about all the things to be done tomorrow.
The next one is a no brainer, being organised reduces stress. How many times are you in a rush but can’t find something you’re looking for? This sets a negative tone for the rest of the day. According to a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people with cluttered homes were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher cortisol levels.
Who would have thought tidying up could improve your life?!
When your belongings are in their rightful place, it’s easy to spot when something is out of place. This reduces the overwhelming feeling of having to put away too many items and helps you find things when they are needed. Cleaning the house is a breeze when you don’t first need to pick up everything. You can get through the task of wiping down surfaces, sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping floors much faster.
When your home is tidy, you’ll feel more at ease with having people stop by for a visit.
Moving things from place to place only to find something is a waste of time. Being organized will allow you more time for things you’d rather be doing.
Knowing what you already have can also save you money! How often do you over-purchase at the supermarket because you’ve forgotten what’s already in your fridge or pantry?
I could spend all day talking about the additional benefits of staying tidy, but that’s not going to help you get there!
I mentioned earlier living in clutter can be stress-inducing. In fact, clutter literally increases your cortisol level! This is the stress hormone, and too much in the blood for prolonged periods of time can wreak havoc on health. Clutter has a way of accumulating over time. You may not even notice it until you hit a breaking point.
Whether your desire to declutter is brought on by a trying life event, such as a death or divorce, or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by your space, decluttering will help you move on from the weight of objects.
We all have an individual tolerance for clutter…
However, where your clutter is located in your home says a lot about you.
Here are some examples from women’s health expert, visionary health pioneer, wellness speaker, and New York Times best-selling author, Christiane Northrup:
LIVING AND DINING ROOMS
These are your main entertaining rooms. Clutter here may mean you are hiding your true self from the world.
The kitchen is often where we dump everything from our daily lives — mail, electronics on chargers, from purses and school bags to dog bowls, vitamins, and many other items from our daily lives. All of this clutter in the kitchen can make it challenging to nourish yourself and your family truly.
These are the connectors between rooms and represent your ability to flow. Cluttered hallways may mean your life’s path is not clearly defined or thought out.
Clutter in your boudoir may make you feel “wired and tired” and may inhibit intimacy with your partner
The bathroom is where we pamper ourselves and prepare to face the world. Think about all the products under your sink that you never use. Clutter in this room may mean you lack self-worth.
Closets represent that which is hidden from view. If we stuff our closets, we block our ability to use our insight and intuition to “see into” ourselves and situations.
BASEMENT & ATTICS
We often look to basements for storage of unwanted or unused items. As in dreams, basements represent the subconscious mind. A cluttered basement can blunt your intuition.
Cars represent our independence and ability to get around. If there is so much clutter in your garage that you can’t get your car in and out quickly, you may feel difficulty moving forward in life.
Interesting, right? Would you agree with these?
Kon Mari Method
You didn’t think we’d get through class without mentioning the KonMari method, did you?!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this method, I’ll explain.
Marie Kondo has been a self-proclaimed tidy-upper since the age of 5. At the age of 15, she began studying the art of tidying. Today, Marie has a business in Tokyo helping people transform their homes into peaceful, inspiring spaces.
Marie developed her own way of organizing, known as the KonMari Method, which she teaches to others. Marie’s method is partly inspired by the Shinto religion, which attributes cleaning and organizing things correctly to be a spiritual practice in Shintoism.
Her books have sold millions of copies and have been translated from Japanese into languages including Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Indonesian, French, German, Swedish, Portuguese, and English. Her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011) has been published in more than 30 countries, was a best-seller in Japan and Europe and was published in the United States in 2014.
She even has a reality television series developed by Netflix. Are you all familiar with Marie Kondo?
Let’s dig a little deeper into her methods!
The KonMari Method suggests organizing by category rather than by room.
When I first heard this, I couldn’t fathom not going room by room. But then I realized going room by room always led me to distractions. For example, start by organizing your clothing by going room by room to find any stray clothing laying around. This makes so much more sense than tidying the living room only to go back and forth returning items to different rooms continually! By organizing all your clothes at once, rather than by closet, you’ll have a better idea of what you have and what to get rid of.
Give it a try next time you get into the tidy mode.
So Where Do You Start?
When it comes to decluttering, it’s up to you where to start. My personal preference is that cupboard. We’d all love a colossal walk-in robe with room to spare, however, that isn’t the reality for most of us. Having an organized cupboard or walk-in robe will go a long way in getting your mornings started off right.
Here are tips to help you get started.
If you live somewhere with multiple climates, put away clothes and shoes that aren’t in season. The bulky winter stuff will be in the way during the summer.
- Make yourself more space by storing seasonal clothing in bins or garment bags.
- Customize your shelving. Take a few measurements and head out to your local DIY home improvement store. Employees are typically able to help you create a closet design that will suit your needs with adjustable shelving options.
- Donate any unwanted items. Better yet, take things to a resale shop to get a little money back.
- For cupboards that are completely out of control, you may need to remove everything to make it easier to organize as you return items to the cupboard. This can make sorting items easier too.
- Don’t forget to make use of higher shelving. This space can be used for storage, or you can invest in a cheap stool to help you reach the underutilized space.
The Rolling Method
Rolling is a great way to reduce wrinkling and create space when packing.
Here are some links if you are interested in watching some informative videos about tidying up and decluttering.
Watch a how-to video here: https://youtu.be/V7LaBlHgqqg
The Japanese Method: https://youtu.be/vevDZd2E0ew
For perfect precision every time you can invest in a FlipFold: https://youtu.be/RjAWsY9padQ
Another space saver to help reduce wrinkles:
Which method do you prefer?
So How Do You Maintain It?
Doing a full organization will only get you so far. To avoid having to empty your closet again next year, keep up with it.
You can use the change of seasons to signal it’s time for a once over. Make a point to get to the pile of items set aside that may need mending. The more you can stay on top of keeping your closet in order the less time you’ll have to spend re-organizing it in the long run!
The next phase of the KonMari Method helps you to decide what to keep and what to toss. Rather than the “have I used it in the last 6 months?” barometer, ask yourself if the item brings you joy. One important caveat to this is you only get to decide if your belongings bring you joy. For example, when cleaning up toys, chances are the legos aren’t going to spark the same joy.
Other times this method may not work is in a room you’re not particularly fond of. If you despise cooking, you may be hard-pressed to find joy in a spatula or cutting board. In these instances, practicality can outweigh feelings of joy. The goal here is to not just like, but LOVE everything in your house.
Let’s talk about tidying another room, the kitchen.
Whether or not the kitchen is the heart of your home, having an organized space will make cooking that much more enjoyable.
There are tons of great ideas and products out there for getting this room organized. To start, look for any underutilized space. Do you have cabinets high up that you aren’t using? This can be remedied easily by investing in a collapsible step stool. Some even fit nicely in the space between the fridge and wall! Because the idea of organizing excites me, I get giddy looking at organization products.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Over the Cabinet Pot Lid Holder
- Pantry Door & Wall Rack for spices
- Drawer Organizers
- Tiered Shelving
Admit it, when thinking about getting organized, the fridge is last on the list. For many, it doesn’t even make the list!
I love having an organized fridge. Not only does it help reduce food waste, but seeing all my fresh foods organized brings me pure bliss. Now I know, most of you may not share my joy, but having an organized fridge does have its benefits. In addition to reducing food waste, you can avoid over-buying items and encourage healthier eating.
You can find clear storage bins from places such as the container store, HomeDepot, and Amazon. You’ll also want to invest in glass food containers so you can store and see what leftovers you have.
Kitchen items can accumulate over the years. One method I have found useful for reducing the clutter is to box up items I’m not ready to part with. If I don’t use them over a few months, then I know I can confidently let them go.
Bathrooms and Hallways
Areas such as bathrooms and hallways can quickly become overwhelmed with ‘stuff.’ Because these areas are small, it doesn’t take much for clutter to take over. These are also areas that may be lacking storage space. You may be able to invest in some shelving to help provide more space.
Here are some tips to help cut down the clutter.
- Only keep the products you use daily in the medicine cabinet and on the counter.
- Keep under the sink storage for cleaning products and overflow items such as extra shampoo and toilet paper.
- Invest in bins or file organizers to keep hairdryers and straighteners together.
- Attach a magnetic strip to the inside of your medicine cabinet door for loose items such as tweezers, bobby pins, nail clippers, and nail filer.
- Install shelving above doorways in the bathroom and hall.
- You can store things in baskets or jars to avoid looking cluttered.
- Use a kitchen drawer organizer or spice rack for the bathroom!
Basements and Attics
Attics and basements are typically areas we store the overflow of ‘stuff’ we accumulate. Decluttering these areas can be a significant task. What’s in your basement or attic?
Decluttering attics and basements can be a different experience than the rest of the house. These are areas we store things not needed for immediate use. For example, you may be saving items for later use by someone else, such as an old sofa. Unwanted items may be stored in these locations as well. Family heirlooms we’re emotionally attached to but have no use for also wind up here.
Here are tips for decluttering attics and basements:
- Acknowledge the emotions and feelings that come up when you consider the clutter in your attic or basement. The goal here to identify emotions, not to pass judgment on them but to understand why you may be holding onto things you don’t want or use.
- Next, reimagine a new use for the space. Maybe the basement will be an ideal location for an in-home gym or new play area for the children once the clutter is cleared.
- Start the process of decluttering by categorizing the items you want to tackle first. You may even find it helpful to create a list of action steps.
- Create a timeline to help you determine how long each step will take.
Let’s get organised
When it comes to getting organized, many people tend to put it off indefinitely. Tomorrow never seems to happen when it comes to doing tasks we are avoiding.
I want you to commit to using the momentum of today’s episode to help get you started! I promise decluttering will help you feel lighter. If the job at hand is overwhelming, set small goals for yourself. The point is to start!
Hoarding can range from mild to severe and can be a real disorder. Hoarding behaviour usually starts between the ages of 11 to 15, and it tends to get worse with age.
Collectors accumulate items to display for personal enjoyment. Hoarders, on the other hand, are driven by fear to accumulate things, thinking “I may need it someday.”
Are You A Hoarder?
Some telltale signs you may be a hoarder include:
- the need for more space
- collecting things for which you have no immediate use
- difficulty in organising and categorising items
- being uncomfortable with people entering your home
There are many signs of hoarding, and these are just a few. It’s important to seek help if you or a loved one exhibits signs of hoarding.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when attempting to declutter your space.
- Don’t rely too much on “Joy.” It would be wonderful to only have items in your home that bring you joy. However, this may not be practical. Honestly, how much ‘joy’ does toilet paper give you?
- Don’t start decluttering without a plan. Getting organised takes time. Especially when you’re starting from scratch, the process will be smoother when you’re not rushing or multitasking.
- While the KonMari method can be helpful, it may not be right for everyone. Feel free to adapt the technique to best suit your needs.
- Finish what you start. It’s common to be excited initially then lose steam partway through. Commit yourself to follow through. Remind yourself why you started in the first place. Daily tidying to ensure everything is put in its proper place will go a long way.
- Maintain your new clutter-free space. Once everything is organised correctly, you won’t have to do it again if you keep the clutter in check! Over time you may even be accustomed to living with less.
Focus On What You Will Keep
My favourite aspect of the KonMari method is changing your mindset from looking for items to discard to working under the assumption that everything is going and intentionally allowing things to stay.
This resets your focus on looking for items to keep rather than items to get rid of!
By focusing on only keeping what you love rather than just discarding what you hate you’re more likely to get rid of a higher number of items.
You never know what you have… until you clean your room!
Just imagine all the forgotten treasures you may find when decluttering. Better yet, reimagine a new use for your space once it’s tidy and fresh again.
I hope you’re feeling more optimistic and better prepared for the task at hand! Clear your clutter to clear your mind. Thank you for being here.
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I’ll leave you with a quote from Australian/American professional organiser and media personality Peter Walsh, who once said, “What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s on your home, your head, or your heart – It’s astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.
Well, guess what, that’s the end of season one!
I can’t believe we’re already here. Thank you for going on this journey with me, it’s been an absolute pleasure sharing my experiences and knowledge and I hope you have taken a lot out of it and used it in your everyday life.
I will see you in season two when I will be helping you to transform yourself for success.
So until then, I want you to go out there and take action on what you have learned and please contact me with any questions you may have or any success you have achieved. I would love to hear from you and if you have any suggestions on any topics you want me to cover please email me or complete the contact page and I’ll see what I can do.
Now its time, yes I know you are trying to avoid it, but go on, get that list out, write down what needs to be done, go out and get that shelving, start decluttering and have a wonderful and successful week and I’ll see you in season 2!!