What is it?
Clutter of all kinds – physical, social, mental and emotional – can directly affect your health. Specifically speaking, physical clutter can be a build up of mess or chaos (or crap, to put it bluntly) in your life. Although the offending items may not seem like, the truth is, clutter can be damaging to your mental and physical health.
What can clutter do to our physical & mental health?
- Often when our external environments (such as our bedrooms and offices) are cluttered and messy, we can feel overwhelmed and stressed. This may be a reflection of our subconscious. When things are cluttered and messy in your immediate environment, you can subconsciously feel a level of chaos inside of you. Your body responds to that level of chaos, which translates into our behaviours.
- Clutter can exacerbate allergies by inviting a build up of dust and mould. Not only is this unappealing to look at, but we can never find what we are looking for – for example our gym gear. This affects our physical health, as we are less likely to exercise and makes us sick from allergens. (And when we can’t find our running shoes.)
- Mentally, clutter can increase levels of stress and anxiety, strengthens procrastination, weakens decision-making, can exacerbate pre-existing mental conditions and can deplete your energy with its overwhelming presence.
Why do we do it?
We’re all guilty of letting piles of unwanted stuff expand in our lives. Sometimes hold on to items because of an emotional connection, if we associate an item with happy memories, or a person we’re not willing to forget. Sometimes it’s because we stockpile objects that fulfil a variety of needs. It could just be we haven’t got around to throwing it away!
What do we do about it?
Luckily, clutter damage control is easy, and a startlingly effective way to improve your life. Spring-cleaning always leaves us feeling organised, productive and happy within our private space.
What is NOT a good solution!
Don’t buy more stuff to get rid of the stuff! Bringing big fancy storage containers in to your home because you think it will make your clutter look more organised won’t fix the problem.
What IS a good solution!
Set aside a few hours or a day to sort through all your clutter and build-up, and then eliminate all the items that are useless to your life. Have you used this item in the last 6 months? If not, donate it to a charity.
It can feel overwhelming, but with a few simple steps, can make an enormous difference to your life.
- Collect everything in question, and put it in a pile
- Ask yourself, what here is essential? Discard everything that you haven’t used recently, put it in a pile or in a box, near a door. That way you can drop it in to a donation bin next time you leave the house.
- Make “homes”, or specific places for everything that you want to keep. That way when you use an item, it will always go back to its specific spot, avoiding the build up.
- Follow up by implementing an organisational system that prevents clutter from accumulating in the first place. Conduct ‘monthly reviews’ of your closet or spaces that are particularly prone to built up. Have strategies in place to make sure it builds up.