Decluttering for a Life Well-Lived
I still remember that day at my friend’s birthday party in Fairfax, Virginia. I was around 8 years old and was the new one in town. As we went inside the house and entered one of the bedrooms, we came across a scene that stayed in my mind forever. There were piles and piles of clothes and toys all around the room. It was rather hard to find the bed inside the bed-room. This impacted me deeply. I felt somewhat uncomfortable and overwhelmed.
Some years later, I fell into some kind of spell. I too started accumulating different kinds of objects, until one day I noticed I was living the same scene I’d seen some years before. The only difference was that it was now on a daily basis: my daily dose of anxiety. It was clutter!
Definition of clutter: The Merrian Webster Dictionary defines “cluttered” as “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness”. We can say that piles and piles of disorganized things can be an obstacle to our overall happiness.
Feeling overwhelmed by clutter?
Do you feel anxiety when you see clutter? According to an article by BBC News from 2015, “54% of Americans feel overwhelmed by clutter”. It makes us feel this way because it increases our cortisol levels (which leads to stress). This seems to be affecting women more than men, but... How does it make you feel?
We wanted to be the cool kids with the 101 Dalmatians
Did you ever have tons of toys from kids’ meals at home? Some of us begin accumulating since very young. Once upon a time, there was a meal that came with a puppy from the 101 Dalmatians movie. Boom! As a child, wouldn’t you want to have the full collection? That was our goal! My sister and I wanted to have 101 puppies and came kind of close (more than 10 plus a couple of Cruelas). Not too bad.
After some years, it went from toys to clothes, to posters, notebooks, magazines, phones that didn’t work anymore, or old home appliances that we'd replaced but decided to keep around.
Thankfully, some years ago when going through a coaching process, I was able to let go of many things I didn’t need anymore. It was very helpful for my overall wellbeing and still is. I do it at least every 3 months. How about you?
5 Reasons why Decluttering can make you Happier
It’s time for spring cleaning! It’s a great time to discard what no longer serves us: a time to renew and feel fresh.
But before, there’s a little secret formula you may want to know. It's about happiness:
Happiness = Emotional Health + Healthy relationships + Inner Peace + Abundance + Physical Health
Source: Mastery in Human Engineering, Altamente
Decluttering affects all of these areas positively, making us happier:
1. Improved emotional health: Frees you from certain negative emotions
- Lowers Stress: It’s biological. Clutter increases our cortisol levels greatly. Just the visual impact makes us feel uncomfortable, causing stress and anxiety. Less clutter equals less cortisol, meaning less stress.
- Clears your mind: When our minds are filled with “postponed decisions” (e.g. deciding to do with all of these objects), they become “clogged”. Less postponed decisions means a clearer mind, and so, more space for creativity and new ideas.
- Raises positive energy: Clutter can make us feel guilty. If you didn’t know, guilt is an emotion that gives us one of the lowest states of energy vibration. It's time to welcome the good vibes!
2. Healthier Relationships: Gives you quality time to spend with those you love
- Fewer fights: Feeling that our homes are messy can make some of us anxious (like we already mentioned). This can make us get mad more easily. So less mess, means less fights.
- More time for those you love: Less time cleaning and more time to spend with those you love.
3. Inner Peace: Helps your inner state
“Believe what your heart tells you when you ask: Does this spark joy?”
- More time and space for what you really love. Less time going through the clutter, and more time and space for being yourself. This brings inner peace and fulfillment.
4. Abundance: Magically turns unwanted objects into money
- Spending less: Having less can make you more aware of the things you don’t really need. You’ll tend to spend less.
- Additional income: There’s dollars lying around your house in the form of unwanted objects. So why not turn them into cash by setting up a garage sale?
- Better financial decisions: When your space is more organized you also become better organizing your money. You make better financial decisions.
- Less late fees: Terri Savelle, author of Declutter your way to Success, mentions that "23% of Americans pay their bills late because they can’t find them”. So if you belong to this part of the population, this can save some bucks!
5. Physical Health: Can help you feel better
- An improved immune system: Health is vital when it comes to living a happy life. Without health, we can’t give the best out of ourselves. When under stress, our immune system gets weak so we’re more prone to getting sick.
- Fewer allergens around: Dust tends to accumulate when there’s clutter (“dust clutter”). This means more food for dust mites! For some people, this means respiratory allergies. (To learn more about indoor allergens you can read: "Tricks to Dust the Mites Away” or "3 Indoor Allergens that love Humidity")
- More time for exercise: Less time for cleaning and more for moving around.
How do I know what's clutter?
Some things do make our lives better and easier. So decluttering doesn't mean that we need to get rid of everything and stop having things that are beneficial to our wellbeing.
Here's the best advice:
If it really makes you happier, keep it.
If it's broken but would make your life better if it was working, replace it.
And if it would make your life better if you had it, get it!
All the rest is clutter. Discard it!
What to do with old home appliances
Do you have old home appliances lying around the house? There are various things you can do with them if you want to replace them.
You can read all about it here: Appliance Recycling: Is it an Option?
Let's detach from the old to open up space for the new!
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Use information at your own risk: The information presented is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical or home improvement advice. The information and suggestions should be discussed with a professional. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to rely upon or use it in any way. You use all the information at your own risk.