We all tend to pick up mementos on our journey through life and, as you grow older and move from rented apartment to condo to family home, it’s easy enough to manage to find space for it all. However, at some point in your life you may find you reach the point of “peak stuff” and discover you simply don’t have room for anything more.
This is especially a problem if the things taking up most of the space in your home are items you do not use on a regular basis, if at all. Even before you reach this stage, there are many benefits to be gained from decluttering your home. Read on to learn more.
Healthier, happier living
Studies have shown that living in a home with less clutter brings benefits to all other areas of your life. Your mental health will benefit enormously because you will find it far easier to take much better care of yourself.
An uncluttered kitchen, for example, where dishes are always clean, utensils are easy to find and there is always free space available for preparation means you are more likely to want to spend time there and cook healthy meals rather than simply call up the nearest take-out provider.
If you feel stressed at the thought of anyone – perhaps even your closest friends – seeing the state of your home and hate it when people drop by unannounced, decluttering can help to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you experience on a day-to-day basis. This, in turn, will lead better sleep and enhanced all-round health.
Studies have found a link between high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in female home owners with a high level of household clutter. To put it simply, the more unnecessary items there were a home, the higher the level of stress women feel. Men, however, seemed happy to live in a messy environment as the study showed there was little difference in the level of stress they felt regardless of how much clutter they were surrounded by.
Clearing your home of unnecessary clutter can also provide an enormous sense of personal achievement. If you want to keep things neat and tidy on a long-term basis, you’ll need to spend a little time each day carrying out a mini-declutter, so you’re never faced with an overwhelming amount of work to do. This also means that can experience a little of the same sense of pride you felt at the end of your major declutter each and every day, giving your self-confidence a little boost each and every day.
Decluttering can free up the cash locked away in items you no longer want or use and be put to much better use, such as paying for a meal at an upmarket restaurant or even for a vacation. The more unused items you can clear away, the more living space you will have left behind, and this can provide the perfect opportunity to give your house a total makeover.
Once all the items of clutter have been taken away, you’ll be left with items you treasure and use the most, allowing you to enjoy them even more.
Making the most of the memories
When it comes to decluttering, one area where many people struggle is working out the best way to deal with sentimental items. In my cases, such items are tucked away in the far corner of a closet or in a loft space and only ever make an appearance where there is a big tidy-up going on. Although such items have no intrinsic value and are often meaningless to outsiders, they are still difficult to let go of because of the memories they invoke.
One way to deal with the issue, according to a study carried out at Penn State university, is to take a photograph of the item. Researchers found that participants who took a photograph of their sentimental items donated up to 35 per cent more of their clutter than those who did not.
The study found that, although people assume it is the item itself that is the key, the reality is that it is the memories associated with the item that matter most. Taking a photograph enables you to retain the memories even when the item itself is no longer there.
If you still don’t have the heart to throw things out or sell them on, consider making use of a firm such as Woods Self Storage where you can hire a secure unit to keep your excess items out of the way and give yourself some more breathing room.
Moving your items into storage is also a great idea if you plan to move home. If a house is completely empty, it can appear too cold and sterile to appeal to potential buyers. At the same time, if a house is too cluttered, it may appear smaller and more cramped than it is, and this could have a negative impact on its sales potential.
Using a storage solution to remove all non-essential items from your home in the run-up to selling it will not only give you the best of both worlds in terms of visual appeal, but it will also make it easier to complete your final move as some of the work will already have been done.
Tackle the heart of the problem
If the prospect of decluttering your entire home seems too daunting to even contemplate, try introducing the process into your life on a more gradual basis. Begin with a single drawer or even just part of a drawer. Setting aside an entire day, weekend or even an entire week to declutter can lead to you becoming despondent the first time you encounter a set of items you can’t decide what to do with. Give yourself permission to take as long as you need, just so long as you are always making progress.
If you continue to live your life the way you have been in the past, and especially if you choose to declutter as part of a long-term project, there is a danger that, over time, you’ll either replace all the items you have cleared away or end up with even more than you began with.
One way to prevent this from happening is to introduce a rule into your household that states that each and every time you introduce a new item, you have to donate, sell or throw out an old one. Having this rule works on two levels: first you have to think carefully about anything you purchase because you that you’ll be losing an item as a consequence. The second benefit of the rule is that it prevents your clutter from spiralling out of control.