No one enjoys cleaning their home – we get it. There are hundreds of other things you’d rather do than spending your precious weekend tackling dirt or sifting through junk. But a cluttered home is bad news. First of all, clutter can do some major impact on your overall well-being. Being surrounded by excess junk can make you feel overwhelmed, stressed and unhappy. A huge 40% of Australian say they feel anxious, guilty or depressed about the clutter in their home, found in a study by The Australia Institute. Additionally, Researchers at Princeton University found that being surrounded by excess items can have an unfavorable effect on your brain’s ability to focus and process information.
Chances are you have too much junk in your life – and it’s stressing you out! The good news is, we’ve wrapped everything you need to know about clearing out clutter into a nifty infographic. Check it out:
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Why clutter causes stress
As you accumulate clutter over time, locating even the most important items can become overwhelming. Documents, keys, TV remotes and even clothing can go missing on a regular basis. Many feel that the mess not only drains our energy, but it also drains us of our precious time. Being surrounded by all this junk can send negative thoughts about being lazy and procrastination – these messages negatively affect your self-esteem and adds stress to your life.
Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles recently observed 30 families and have found that mothers who were exposed to a more cluttered home had increased levels of stress hormone cortisol. 75% of the families in the study had a clutter crisis so severe that they had to use their garages solely for extra storage.
How clutter builds up
Clutter tends to build up naturally over one’s lifetime, and this build up can sometimes be unavoidable – It’s just humans nature. The Home Makers Journal says “People collect things for multiple different reasons – whether the item has sentimental value, was a great bargain, bought on impulse, or maybe you think the item will come handy one day, even though you haven’t touched it for months or years.” Everyone is different, and each person tends to acquire different types of clutter. Some are strongly attracted to bargain clutter while others purchase items ‘just-in-case’ they’ll need it one day.
Clutter can be broken up into different categories with each having their own psychological reasoning behind why we hold onto them. Here are 4:
- Just-in-case clutter: Can be something that has been useful to you in the past, but is no longer used today. It could be an item that you have purchased thinking it may come handy one day, though it’s obvious you haven’t used it in months. These items are something you hold onto in fear that you may need it one day – items that make you feel assured or secure though they have no use.
- Sentimental or “emotional” clutter: You have an emotional attachment to an item and afraid to let them go. These keepsake items remind you of a special time in your life and have captured a special memory. They take up valuable space in your home but you feel guilty about wanting to get rid of them.
- Bargain clutter: You couldn’t resist a great sale, or maybe a ‘freebie’ from your friends is an offer too good to resist. These are items that were very cheap or was given to you for free. We all love a great bargain, and you’ve scored one. You have trouble getting rid of these because they were so cheap.
- Expensive clutter: Too expensive to let go of! You spent a great deal of money on it and can’t stand the idea of discarding it.
Benefits of a clutter free home
There are a handful of reasons why you should de-clutter your home – from lowering your anxiety to boosting your daily productivity. Here are 9 benefits of a clutter-free home:
- Decrease stress, anxiety, and depression – become a happier person. Excessive junk is a source of stress and affects every aspect of your life. The clutter distracts you, ties you down and fills your mind with negative messages. By removing the source of all this negativity you will discover true peace of mind.
“Clear away the clutter once and for all, and enjoy the happiness you’ll find hiding underneath!” –unclutter.com
- Clear your mind. A chaotic environment is a sign of a cluttered mind. Clearing up physical space can help with freeing up mental space – as you clear up your surroundings you’ll find that your mind will also clear up.
- Easier to unwind, sit back and relax. You should know by now that clutter causes stress. In other words, the less clutter you have in your environment, the more relaxed you will be.
- More time spent time doing stuff you love. Getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers. Keeping your home clutter free makes it much easier to clean and help reduce time spent sifting through junk looking for your keys or important documents.
- Improve you and your kid’s friendships! Your house is a mess and it causes you to feel embarrassed and guilty. You don’t want anyone to see the chaos so you stop inviting friends or family over.
- Promote good health and hygiene. Junk is dust’s best friend. All those unused items become a dust collecting magnet, and dust isn’t healthy, especially if you have breathing problems or asthma. Dust can contain nasty stuff like pollen, human skin cells, decomposing insects, food debris, and even insecticide DDT, according to the journal Environmental Science & Technology. This means that time spent decluttering literally purifies the air, allowing you to breath easier.
- Boosting daily productivity. A chaotic workspace will have a negative influence on your brain’s ability to focus and process information. The mess will compete for your attention, disrupting your thought process and focus. The mayhem will also cause you to spend more time locating important documents or files causing a decrease in your productivity.
“A recent survey says a disorganized workspace can lead to decreased productivity and unprofessional behavior.” Inc Magazine
- Increase the value of your property. If you’re looking to sell your home, decluttering is a great way to increase the value. By decluttering you can make the property look more spacious and allows your home to stand out from the rest.
- Inhibits creativity. A clutter free environment allows you to free yourself from distractions, mental fatigue, and stress, allowing your mind to roam free, to brainstorm and focus.
Decluttering room-by-room is the most effective way to clear out clutter and organize your home. And you will feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as you complete each room!
1. Living room/family room
The only shared room in the house where everyone intends to sit back and relax. It is almost impossible to unwind and de-stress in an environment that is cluttered with toys, magazines, DVDs and more. One of the best things in the world is sitting down with friends and family relaxing whilst enjoying a movie. so it’s only natural a comfortable chill out area.
- Consider purchasing storage containers/chest to store your kid’s toys and games.
- Get rid of old magazines and newspapers.
- Clear our unused DVDs, videotapes and CDs.
The bedroom is one of the most important spaces in the house to keep organised. After a long day, you’d want to return to an organised, uncluttered, spotless room – an oasis where you can truly unwind and relax.
- Start with your wardrobes by only having seasonal clothing hanging in your closet and storing non-seasonal clothing.
- Toss/donate/sell any clothing that is old, torn, unused or disliked.
- Toss any unused/old bedding, pillows and towels.
If you’re like most people, then the kitchen will be one of the most used rooms in your home. if you cook frequently, you’ll find your cabinets and drawers cluttered with utensils, appliances, food and much more. You tend to spend more time looking for the pots or utensils needed than actually required. By decluttering the kitchen you can win back time in your life.
- Start by clearing out each cabinet individually.
- Toss any chipped, or cracked china plus any pots or pans with broken handles.
- Clear out any out-of-place objects from the cabinet.
- Check expiry dates on all products in your fridge and toss anything out of date.
You’d be surprised as to how much junk you can find in the cabinets and drawers of your bathroom. Stuff such as expired toiletries, unused shampoos or even ripped towels and much more. These junk is unnecessary and should be discarded!
- Toss products, such as bottles of shampoo that you don’t use or like.
- Re-locate your most frequently used items, such as tool paste and a tooth brush to areas within each reach.
- Use containers such as jars and clear boxes to sort items into a specific order.
- Toss any dirty hand towels, face cloths, bath towels and laundry into your hamper and move them to the laundry room.
- Toss outdated medicines, toiletries and products.
Top tips on decluttering
- Create a routine to declutter 20 minutes daily, weekly or fortnightly.
- Use jars and containers to store items.
- Toss any item that has been unused or touched in awhile.
- Make a habit out of putting things away, rather than doing it later.
- Start small, even if it’s just a single cabinet or wardrobe at a time.
- Ask your friends to help out as they will be less emotionally attached to the time then you will be.
- Set goals before you start. e.g complete x room before x date.
- Prioritise spaces – which room needs the most attention?
Using the three box method
This method forces you to make a decision item-by-item. By doing so, you can ensure that junk is definitely removed from your home.
Start by gathering three storage boxes, label each of them as below. Go through each room individually, bring the three boxes to the declutter area. Go through the clutter one-by-one and make a decision to either keep, get rid of, or store.
- Box 1: Keep
Place any item you want to keep in this box. Once the box fills up – either place the items in a container for storage or place the items in their new homes.
- Box 2: Get rid of it
Store any items you want to get rid of inside this box. Once the box fills up, place items in a separate container and place it aside temporarily so you can decide how to dispose of afterward.
- Box 3: Storage
Replace this box with a new one each time it fills up. Once this box fills up completely, label the box(you might want to fill out an inventory sheet and stick it on top) and place the box neatly in your storage area.
Using the Three-year rule
You are probably holding onto a lot of ‘just-in-case’ clutter. If you haven’t used an item in the past three years, discard it – this applies to everything from tools, pots, and pans, clothing, toys…. everything, you name it. Chances are if you haven’t touched it in three years it’s not worth keeping.
Preventing the clutter from re-entering your life
So, you’ve finally cleared out the clutter from your home and probably feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You might not even be able to recognise your house anymore. You’ve done a fantastic job so far but I’m afraid it’s not over yet… Now we have to focus our attention on maintaining this new clutter free home.
Use these 4 simple tips to maintain a clutter-free lifestyle and preventing it from returning:
- Use a one in one out policy
This rule forces you to ensure that your home does not end up with any more items than it already has. This rule is simple. Whenever you decide to bring home something new, something else has to be discarded. No exceptions!
- Stopping things from entering the house
Be careful about what you bring home. Always ask yourself these questions when deciding to obtain something new.
“Do we have any room for this item?”, “Where will I store it?”, “Do I really want this item?”, “Can I do without it?”By building a habit of asking yourself these few questions, you can prevent potential clutter from entering the house.
- Minimise effort is taken to put things away
The key to this rule is to making it easy to put things away. Think about it… If its hard to put it back in its place, then you’ll most likely place it somewhere else.For example – your kids will most likely put their toys away if you use a storage container with an easy open top.
- Set aside small amount of time each day to declutter
Set aside 20 minutes each day to spend dealing with clearing up kids toys, magazines, mail and other common clutter – by doing this you can avoid hours of cleaning in the future. Even if you can’t exercise this tip daily, plan a weekly or even fortnightly declutter sweep and ensure to give yourself enough time.
For more tips and tricks on how you can keep your house clutter-free, make sure to call us or book a complete house cleaning and we’ll take care of the rest for you! Call Simply Maid today or make a booking through our online booking system.
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