Journal

Clarity Through Decluttering

The average European home is said to contain about 10,000 items, while in the US the figure is more like 300,000. Yet the fewer possessions we have, the happier we are, as science has shown. Decluttering allows for mindfulness, focus, calm, creativity and a feeling of control over our environment. And it’s never a bad time to start…

Less stuff, less stress

Have you ever noticed how you feel in a messy, cluttered room versus a tidy, uncluttered one? Try it. Clutter can feel overwhelming, and distracting, too, as it reminds you of all the things that need to be done. This causes stress and anxiety. However, a room with fewer things, in designated places, with empty space in-between, relaxes the mind, instills a sense of calm and gives you mental space for new thoughts and ideas. Ultimately, owning fewer things means physical and mental freedom.

 

Sentimental clutter

The reasons for holding on to items are complex. Objects can have huge sentimental value – such as children’s artwork, travel souvenirs, birthday cards, clothing from a deceased loved one, or family heirlooms –  and letting go may seem like a hurdle never to be surmounted. It can be a difficult journey, but the emotional release and mental clarity that comes from freeing yourself of too many things is worth it. When tidying, experts suggest setting aside all sentimental items and dealing with them last – that way you have time to sort through your emotions and thoughts as you go.

 

5 simple steps to decluttering, as inspired by the tidying expert Marie Kondo:

01 Organize items by category, not location

02 Hold each item in your hand

03 Ask yourself: does this spark joy?

04 If it does: keep it, and find a spot for it

05 If it doesn’t: let it go with gratitude

 

Cherish what you love

As Marie Kondo expounds, decluttering is not only about getting rid of things. Her well known mantra of keeping things that ‘spark joy’ means cherishing the items you really do love and finding a way to store or display them. If looking at a particular item makes you happy, then keep it in a spot where you can see it. The things we bring into our life are meant to enhance it, not hinder it.

 

Further benefits of decluttering

01 Eliminates decision fatigue

02 Reduces overstimulation

03 Improves sleep

04 Creates a sense of efficiency

05 Boosts productivity

 

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