Why Bother Decluttering Our Hearts and Homes?
As we enter this Lent, Easter, Spring Cleaning season; it is a perfect time to look at our homes and our hearts more closely. We all know intellectually that decluttering our lives and our spaces are good things to do, but we are busy and there are sooo many things that vie for our attention every moment of every day. So, really, why should we bother taking the time to declutter???
First, I want you all to try this exercise……
Walk through your house mentally. Room by room
Where do you get stuck or anxious?? Where do you see things piled? Where are your dumping grounds? A spare bedroom? The basement? Kitchen counters? A closet or two or three?
In simply walking through our home mentally, we can feel mental and emotional symptoms and even some physical symptoms……Can you imagine what the actual clutter does to us?!
If those feelings that rose up inside of you when you mentally walked through your house were not enough to convince you of the need to declutter our hearts and homes, then consider these facts……. (Taken from Psychology Today and Huffington Post, which each sited specific organized studies from which their information was drawn)
What Clutter does to us mentally
- We are slower and less efficient in processing information.
- We forget things easier and more often. The clutter impacts both our short and long term memory.
- Clutter makes us late.
- Clutter makes us not as productive.
What Clutter does to us emotionally
- Our homes should be retreat from the outside world, a place to feel pride. Clutter can make you feel like your home is your “enemy instead of your friend.”
- Gets in the way of our happiness.
- Can contribute to feelings of distress, displacement and alienation
- Increase anxiety and depression
- Ruins relationships
- Isolates people – 50% people said if their home is cluttered they won’t invite people over.
- Hurts your kids – cluttered environment = less happy, harder time making friends, embarrassed about home condition.
What clutter does to us physically – our body etc.
- Can cause us to eat more and eat in an unhealthy manner. Studies show that people placed in a cluttered/chaotic environment are put in a “low self control” mindset.
- Less able to visually process how people around them are feeling or responding to things.
- Increases stress and prolonged periods of stress (increased cortisol) can hurt your heart, brain etc. You are put in a constant state of stress reaction. Never healthy!!
- Increases respiratory issues – more clutter equals more dust.
What clutter does to our physical space.
We only have so much space: Display space, closet space, storage space etc. The more stuff we have, the more space it takes up and physical space is limited!
We know Why we need to declutter – but why is it so hard? “I can’t get rid of that!” — This statement can be heard in homes around the world. Why is it so hard!!?? Why do we have that attachment to stuff?
- Our brains are hardwired for connection. Contrary to what it may seem with some people, our emotions and intellect are linked. The parts of our brains do not work independently of each other – they are cross wired all over the place. (i.e. scents trigger memories, songs trigger memories, visually memories are triggered, touch triggers memories etc.)
- Two main things tend to prevent people from letting go of things.
- Safety and Security. The “What if I need it sometime” syndrome.
- Nostalgia. We’re actually hardwired to think that the past was better than the present. It makes us feel good to reminisce – so we want to hold on to that feeling. We have to reorient our mindsets to the present. To be present and see the value in what is happening now.
- No one is immune to the emotional connection to stuff. We are all different in this way too, but everyone has some things that are meaningful to them. Everyone has some things they are attached to.
- Being attached to something isn’t bad in itself. We should ask ourselves the following questions.
- Is stuff becoming your God?
- Is being organized becoming your God?
- Is the stuff taking over?
Clutter DOES affect us physically, mentally and emotionally.
Decluttering and Organizing DO help!
It is NOT easy, but it IS simple.