Surprising and helpful tips from the pros to help you with decluttering your home this spring
If last year around this time you set out with the best intentions to do some spring cleaning only to be distracted, you’ve come to the right place. At Healthy Human, we take a holistic approach to health. We believe that clean living involves being mindful not just the food we eat, but the air we breathe and the environment in which we live. Each day, we are bombarded with 5,000 ads, and, on average, have 50,000 thoughts and make 35,000 decisions. Couple that with our cluttered offices and homes which are causing us anxiety and it’s easy to see how the clutter in and around us can be overwhelming. Here is Your Essential Guide to Decluttering Your Home to help you take control of your clutter before it takes control of you.
Effects of clutter
A cluttered environment can have a serious impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Although most people do not recognize clutter as a significantly stressful part of their lives, studies show that it does in fact leave us feeling anxious, overwhelmed and depressed.
It can be an endless cycle: depression can lead to clutter, and clutter can lead to anxiety and depression. The more anxious and depressed we are, the more likely we are to let clutter pile up, leading to an even messier home environment.
In addition to all of the stimuli we already take in a day, clutter bombards our minds with even more. This causes our senses to work overtime on things that are not relevant or even important. At the same time, clutter distracts us, makes it difficult to relax and sends signals to our brains that our work is never done. It can even be a trigger for people who struggle with panic attacks.
Taking charge of your home environment by simplifying it can be free and easy. Follow these hacks to get started.
How to tackle decluttering
Fortunately, no matter how badly cluttered your home environment is, little steps will go a long way toward making it your home a serene environment again.
Create a base area
Before you get started, create a base area with all of the tools you will need: trash bags and empty boxes are great to have on hand. Consider creating a sorting system that will help you organize what needs to be thrown away, donated and stored.
Establish an action plan
Next, determine what your method of cleaning will be. In her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo suggests tackling cleaning by categories rather than rooms. For instance, rather than setting out to declutter all of the bedrooms, start by tackling clothing, or books.
Finally, determine a time frame and goals you think are achievable for you and your family. Would spending 30 minutes each day for a week be the most reasonable path forward, or do you have a day or two you can devote to jumpstarting your efforts on the weekends?
How to get rid of clutter
When we are sorting through our belongings, it’s easy to do everything but actually get rid of it. Prevent yourself from spending three hours cleaning only to find your room much messier than it was to start with. Follow Kondo’s simple strategy for actually getting rid of your mess:
- Item by item, place your hands on everything you own and ask yourself if it sparks joy.
- If it doesn’t, thank it for its services and donate, sell or toss it. This can be especially helpful if it’s an item you feel guilty throwing away. You can express gratitude for teaching you what doesn’t suit you, or for giving you joy the one time you used or wore it.
- If it does, place it somewhere it’s accessible, visible and easy to use and enjoy.
Having a hard time throwing away something that was a gift? Consider this philosophy Kondo presents: after the gift-giving moment is finished, the gift has served its purpose — bringing joy to the giver. You can donate or toss it without feeling guilty.
What not to do when decluttering your home
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they set out to declutter their homes:
Don’t buy storage first – sort first
It can be tempting to put off organizing and instead start filling up your home with storage bins from Target. Otherwise, you may end of with several pretty boxes that you have no use for, and in need of others.
Complete each task completely
Don’t move on to a new category (or room) before you’re finished with the one on which you are currently working.
Try not to get distracted
If you find yourself getting caught up in looking at pictures and old mementos, remember the goal you set out to achieve. Having a time limit may motivate you to move quicker. After your decluttering is complete, you can reward yourself with time looking at old pictures.
Have fun – Don’t stress!
Don’t take things too seriously. Remember to have fun! Try to engage the whole family if possible. Put on music, open the windows and enjoy the feeling of empowerment decluttering provides.
Other surprising pro tips
Let decluttering be therapeutic
Experts say that you will often find your life falls into place when everything else is in its place. Let the decluttering process help you with decisions, such as what to wear to that upcoming wedding or what home decor project you want to tackle next.
Revamp how you are putting things away
Do you typically fold all of your shirts and put them in your drawer? Consider rolling them so you can see them easier. Think you need to toss everything in your nightstand. Not so fast: maybe you just need some dividers.
Try the 12-12-12 challenge
Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to return to their proper home (or sell). If you practice this each day, that’s 36 items a day, or 252 items a week that will be gone in no time.
Need some more clean living hacks?
Have you tried decluttering your home?
Have you started your spring cleaning? Let us know your favorite decluttering hacks in the comments section below.