Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Tidying up can encourage you to de-stress, earn a feeling of control, and enhance your state of mind in various forms. The method (and results) of placing items in their place can lift your mood and state of mind. If it puts you at peace, it can be an essential part of self-care. We're living in a period when several of us appear overloaded with anxiety. Yet many of us don't discern how our habits may be adding to our apprehension and stress.
It is proved, clutter and messiness can cause anxiety, which may be part of the reason why the Marie Kondo tidying system and minimalism trends are the news all around the world. After all, decluttering (the method of placing the disparate physical things around you away from where they fit) not only makes it simpler to find what you're searching for, it can also enhance your mood and state of mind in infinite forms.
"It gives people a restored sense of authority over their environment," explains Catherine Roster, Ph.D., an administration professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
"When people go through the process of de-cluttering, they feel a sense of freedom and liberation. It's a reclaiming of a sense of mastery and control. They feel more competent and efficient."
Why Does Clutter Affect Our Emotional Well-Being?
According to studies, the advantages of decluttering the physical area around you aren't unusual. Exposure to cluttered, chaotic surroundings can compromise your alertness, attention, and focus and even reduce your cognitive resources the results from fMRI scans. Furthermore, living in a cluttered place is connected with self-reports of decreased productivity and more persistent procrastination, according to a study published in 2017 in "Current Psychology."
"Clutter reflects an overabundance of possessions that collectively create chaotic and disorderly living spaces," explains the study's lead author, Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at DePaul. Clutter is usually the consequence of an over-attachment to our unique items, making it challenging to part with them. It isn't wealth that's the obstacle as much as liking abundance."
Distinctly, procrastination and clutter can be a two-way street. Research issued in January 2019 in "Environment and Behavior" discovered that indecision and procrastination at work are associated with expanded office clutter. As publishes in "Journan al of Environmental Psychology" in 2016, review answers from adults in the United States and Canada showed that clutter could harm subjective well-being and happiness. Though "home" is typically viewed as a safe and reliable place, clutter discredits some of that safety feeling, according to the questionnaire responses.
"When there's lots of clutter, you lose control over your physical environment, which is very defeating and can bring on stress, depression, or anxiety," Roster says.
Indeed, in a 2010 research, women who reported their homes as being more cluttered had raised cortisol levels and more significant depressed mood during the day when confronted with women who described their homes as more relaxing and therapeutic. Clutter can additionally be a safety risk if there are objects or cables on the floor that someone can fall over, or a wellness peril if your piles of stuff have grown into a magnet for dust or insects. Besides, clutter can become a cause of tension or conflict between people in the same household — particularly if they have distinct opinions about what's tolerable for cleanliness. It can take a toll on your social life, too, if it gets to the point of shame where you won't have people over.
Finally, there's even some proof that being in a cluttered area could change your weight over time. A study published in January 2016 in the journal Environment and Behavior discovered that spending time in a messy, dirty kitchen can contribute to an out-of-control mindset. People in that kind of kitchen preferred higher-calorie snacks than people in a spotless kitchen.
What Quantity of Decluttering Improves Anxiety and Well-Being?
It's different for all of Us. If clutter adds to stress, can declutter and organize the environment surrounding you reduce that stress and increase your well-being? Yes, but know that we all differ when it gets to what's a satisfactory volume of clutter.
"Clutter is 'in the eye of the beholder' in the sense that some clutter might perturb some people and be fine for others," explains Darby Saxbe, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Center for the Changing Family at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her study concentrates on how our family and home surroundings influence our bodies and our health. She worked on the 2010 research that studied the connection between cortisol levels and the degree to which women described their houses as "cluttered."
According to Roster: "Clutter is a spectrum — some people with extreme amounts of clutter may think they don't have a problem with it at all, while others can be quite distressed by it when there isn't much there."
No matter what you materially count as "clutter," whatever is a consistent visual reminder of things that need to be done, Dr. Saxbe describes. "Decluttering allows you to cross things off the to-do list, which gives you a sense of accomplishment. Removing clutter also takes away visual interruptions. It's an easy way to cleanse the palate and have a fresh start."
Stripping down and becoming organized also encourages greater productivity, a sense of order, and perceptions of self-efficacy, as well as lifting your mood. Looked at different ways, tidying up, putting things away, and getting rid of piles of useless stuff is a way of "managing symbolic pollution," researchers assumed in an analysis published in 2014 in the Journal of Consumer Research.
When Decluttering Is Self-Care and When It Isn't
Of course, you can take anything to an excessive level, so if decluttering grows into an obsession or you become super severe about having everything in a precise place, you can go overboard. As Saxbe says, "If decluttering is keeping you from turning your attention to other things in your life, that's not helpful or adaptive."
In other words, it's essential to find what works for you in this department and be adaptable enough to surrender the reins of control when relevant (whether that's over a weekend or specific occasion or in some places in your home or office). But it's worth the effort to discover your sweet spot, because in the correct quantity, decluttering can be useful for your mental and emotional well-being in various ways.
And in that regard, decluttering can undoubtedly be a form of self-care. (Remember self-care is anything that improves your health and well-being and that you concurrently fancy doing.) There's still more effort to be done in the field of positive psychology to define better the inherent advantages of decluttering, Roster says, joining that: "It's a form of self-care, just as not doing it is a form of diminishing the self."
Decluttering is not only for objects.
And why should we define decluttering to your things? We can assuredly practice it to our personal lives like, for example, in our relationships. Whenever we lose someone we love, we tend to hold on to their stuff. And while this serves an important goal in the grieving process for a while, it's not entirely healthy to cling on to it forever, as this can prevent the final act of letting go.
Taking one or two pieces of theirs to treasure and show is an excellent way to honor their meaning in your life, but you may feel overwhelmed by any more than that. De-cluttering can be a very sensitive process, and sorting through a loved one's things is a chance to work through and free parts of your grief that you've been holding on to.
Benefits of Decluttering
1. Increases Concentration: Excessive objects in your surroundings can negatively affect your capacity to focus and treat information. A study at Princeton University discovered that visible clutter in the surroundings could distract the brain, making it multi-task, ending in reduced performance and prolonged anxiety. Filing cabinets full of unorganized documents or stacked up boxes in your workspace adds to your overall sense of frustration. With renewed focus, you will be able to tackle big and small jobs with less anxiety and better productivity. Decluttering your home and surroundings can lift the quality of your life. It becomes so much simpler to find and reach your items much more swiftly and with light stress.
2. Reduces Stress Levels: Anything from going to work, getting stuck in traffic, or waiting in a queue are just some of the elements in our everyday life that usually cause anxiety. Notwithstanding stress being a part of life, you can still find methods to reduce it. One such action is to declutter your desk at work and your home. Clutter can get in your way and make jobs more complicated, which then triggers a stress reply. Keeping old items around can usually be stressful when they are tied to obnoxious bad memories. Discard whatever drags you down, mainly if it messes your emotions. Stop clinging on to old things and declutter because it a great tension reliever. You can instantly start to feel better by arranging items in your home and workplace.
3. Boosts Your Mood: Clutter can make you feel annoyed because it transmits signals to your brain that you don't have your life in order. Living in an untidy environment can be discouraging. Some people even feel like a loser because of disorder when the opposite decluttering can provide us a real sense of achievement. A UCLA study revealed that relationships in families living in cluttered homes suffered because of all the gadgets in their homes. There is a unique connection within clutter and our mood and self-esteem. There is a tie between the addition in cortisol levels between female homeowners and many household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women undergo. In opposition, there is a lot of positivity associated with organized space because it makes you feel much better. When you give, recycle, or organize things, you are inclined to feel good about it. Everyone likes ordered living and workspaces. The organization enhances your personality and develops relations with friends, family, co-workers, and newcomers.
4. Increase your creativity: A messy desk or studio does not associate with creativity. A research study in Princeton reveals that a minimalist environment can help the artistic process. Having too many objects around can make your brain flow from one thing to the next, leading to prolonged stress and less creativity. An ordered workspace promotes creativity. Working in a tidy, clean, and ordered conditions can improve your brain concentrate and get your artistic ideads flooding. Living and working in an organized space improves art, writing, music, creative thinking or even out-of-the-box thinking. Being comfortable in your home can create space in your mind to help you come up with your next big idea. If you want to get things done, get decluttering.
5. You will sleep better : Somebody who sleep in a cluttered room frequently suffers from hoarding dysfunction and is more prone to have sleeping problems. If you sleep in an untidy room, you will likely be resting in bed and gazing at the ceiling. Ia a cluttered bedroom, people have trouble falling asleep at bedtime and experience troubled sleep when sleeping.
Letting go of clutter can be challenging, but the benefits of organizing your home or workplace far exceed any negatives. It isn't a loss of your time. The next time you require to give your mood a lift, try getting rid of useless objects. De-cluttering your physical space can assist you in decluttering your home and life. You'll feel better from adopting decluttering! Fortunately, more and more people are de-cluttering their lives, getting more organized, and learning that we require fewer materials possessions to gain more freedom.
How to declutter your life?
Anything that doesn't make you comfortable or isn't needed should be thanked and sent on its way, states bestselling Japanese author Marie Kondo. Kondo's method, called the "KonMari Method," has six practices of tidying and decluttering your life:
Bind yourself to tidy up. Remember that it will take time and be ready to stick to it.
Picture your perfect lifestyle, including the sort of house you want to live in and how you desire to live in it. You can scribble down this description or assemble photos.
Stop discarding first. Rather of running out to the Container Store and buying storage bins, think where to deposit your items once you've chosen what to retain.
Tidy by section, not location. Collecting all like items in the house, like books or shoes, encourages you make healthier decisions because you know what you have.
Follow the correct method. Kondo has a category-sorting plan that you must grasp because it encourages you regularly hone your capacity to recognize what sparks joy.
Question yourself if it sparks happiness. Handle every one of your properties in your hands and ask, "Does this spark joy?" If it does, you store it, if not it bye bye time.