I guess we are all aware that our physical environment can have a significant impact upon us. When the environment is chaotic often its hard to concentrate or relax although, what is chaos for one might be a sea of tranquillity for someone else.
The fact is that clutter can cause stress. According to the principles of fengshui clutter can drain you of positive energy – you actually ‘feel’ the impact of clutter. Most of us want our home and the different spaces within it to be places that are a haven from stress not somewhere that actually adds to our stress.
Clutter also costs us in terms of time – we’ve all had times when we might have spent ages hunting for stuff whereas if there’d been just a teeny bit more organisation and less clutter, we’d have found it more quickly. Living in clutter can even cost you money, we’ve probably all had receipts we’ve lost that means we can’t take stuff back or ‘vouchers’ that have gone out of date – even bills that may have been unpaid causing problems later.
Of course, decluttering can happen at any time of the year but Spring is when many people decide to have a clear out and clean. If you come into that category then be assured that you are not only decluttering but taking part in an ancient tradition. The roots of spring cleaning can be found in many cultures and religions, linked to the Jewish Passover, Greek orthodox ‘clean week’ and in Iranian and Persian culture prior to new year.
In Victorian London there was an annual spring clean to rid homes of winter grime and open windows to get rid of soot from coal fires. This of course would have a number of health benefits and it remains true that clutter gathers dust and if places are difficult to clean, we are less likely to battle to clean them and of course that isn’t good for any of us. Dust in itself can be an allergen for many, but also the act of cleaning is exercise – you can actually burn calories while decluttering and cleaning and its good for our mental health to as its easier to relax and live ‘efficiently’ imagine not having to hunt for things all the time or move piles of stuff to reach the thing you are after!
With all those benefits what are you waiting for!
Well, it can be daunting but like many things getting started is the hardest part, though it needs to be said that there are companies that do it for you if it really does feel like you can’t face it – certainly any outsider would be way more ruthless than I’d ever be.
You can launch into it as a weekend, or months long project if your house resembles mine, but you can also approach it by allowing just a small amount of time each day, or picking one area, cupboard or ‘type’ of clutter and tackling that then moving onto another. It may take longer so you may not get the same sense of satisfaction but it will be a more manageable approach.
Unless your home really is worthy of a slot on a TV show it’s likely there are particular problem areas, things like kitchen cupboards with long forgotten herbs that went out of date decades ago, wardrobes that have become hiding places for all the clothes you don’t wear, items like photographs or bills though many of those may be digital, (digital decluttering is a whole different issue). One way to declutter is to pick a room and target the problem area first – usually the rest falls into place, or worst-case scenario falls on your head as you open the door!
Whenever you tackle an area or room think about what you want to keep, or get rid of – which may be gifting, donating or selling. It is very easy to hang onto things that we don’t use and haven’t used in ages, many people have a ‘just in case’ mentality so keep things they haven’t used in ages, but likelihood is if you haven’t used in the last couple of years you are not likely to, meanwhile someone else could benefit from it. Just think if you got rid of just one unused item a day that would be 365 less things in your home by this time next year! Creating order can be easier with good, ample storageso sometimes investing in some appropriate storage can help a lot with organisation but don’t be tempted to use it to hang on to lots of unwanted ‘stuff’.
But one of the really important aspects of decluttering is that it can free us in other ways. When we start clearing our physical environment it often becomes easier to recognise the emotional ‘clutter’ we carry – hurts we’ve buried, frustrations we haven’t let go of, relationships that have become toxic in some way, which in turn get in the way of dreams, wishes and desires we may have for the future. In many ways decluttering is a step in the process to creating the life you dream of – one that is happy and fulfilling.
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