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Take a look inside that drawer. There’s a drawer somewhere in your house that you try not to open. You only open this drawer to chuck miscellaneous objects into a bottomless abyss and experience a moment of anxiety until it’s closed and forgotten. We’re here to tell you that this drawer is harming you and your well-being more than you know.
“Clutter can be a physical manifestation of mental health issues,” says Peter Walsh, an organizational expert and former host of The Learning Channel's Clean Sweep show. Walsh believes that clutter is divided into two main categories:
- Memory Clutter: stuff that reminds us of important events, like newspaper clippings.
- Someday Clutter: items you won't toss because you feel you might need them someday.
What Your Clutter Says About You
Walsh believes that individuals with an abundance of "memory" clutter may have an unhealthy preoccupation with the past and could become depressed. Those who can't let go of items because they worry they might need them may be suffering from anxiety, he says.
Of course, a stack of old newspapers is not a valid diagnosis but one thing is certain—extra stuff creates extra stress. The stress hormone actually spikes with the presence of clutter according to a recent study conducted at UCLA.
“Cortisol data show a link between unhappy verbal characterizations of arrays of household possessions [chronically messy, cluttered rooms or unfinished remodeling projects] and higher stress level as measured by the hormone cortisol in the mothers in the study,” says UCLA professor of anthropology Jeanne Arnold, one of the founding faculty of the CELF project.
Clear Your Stuff, Clear Your Head
If you’re calling out for a life raft under a pile of clutter, we’re here to rescue you. Clutter subtly drains your energy. You can boost your energy and productivity by cleaning up your space. These are the five top reasons why you have so much clutter and five simple steps to resolve it.
Problem 1: You Have Too Much Stuff
Solution: Eliminate Excess
The largest contributor to clutter is simply too much stuff. Tackle one room at a time and begin evaluating the purpose of each item. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to throw out a garbage bag worth of old receipts, empty packages, and ripped up socks. Gather four boxes and divvy up items into each of the following:
Problem 2: You Don’t Know Where to Put Stuff
Solution: Invest in Custom Organizers
Determine which areas in your house are rife with clutter. Let’s say you toss important files on your desk and they slowly turn into unmanageable heaps. What’s the perfect solution? Get a filing cabinet or turn a desk drawer into a filing drawer.
If an item doesn’t have a place, make a place. If your bathroom counter is covered in miscellaneous toiletries, create a DIY shelf with an organized place for each item. You can even go as far as labeling organizers so everyone knows where everything goes.
Problem 3: You Don’t Have the Time
Solution: Do a Bit Every Day
You have the same amount of hours in the day as Oprah. If she can run a network, create a podcast, manage a magazine, and make a blockbuster movie—you can clean your room. We’re not discounting your busy schedule. We suggest that you start by allocating 10-15 minutes a day for decluttering.
Wake up and immediately make your bed. Making your bed sets the scene for the rest of your room. You can declutter first thing in the AM, but if you’re a night owl, clear away clutter before bed so you feel ready to sleep without a collection of nearby stress.
Problem 4: You Recently Moved
Solution: Block Off a Weekend
Relocating can be a headache, which is why we leave stuff in boxes for far too long. Book off a weekend (preferably a rainy weekend) and dedicate both days to putting things in their rightful place.
Make a checklist of what you want to get accomplished each day and follow a schedule until every item is crossed off. End each day with something you’ll look forward to, like treating yourself to a nice dinner out.
Problem 5: You Have Seasonal Stuff
Solution: Store it During the Off-Season
What do patio furniture, winter tires, bulky jackets, and golf clubs all have in common? They don’t need to hang around year-round. If you have an ample garage with loads of storage space, this may not be an issue. For those of us with limited square feet, storing items during their off-season can help alleviate unnecessary clutter.
Second Closet will come pick up off-season stuff and keep it secure until you need it back. When you need your stuff back, message us and we’ll be there! Storing seasonal items is a convenient and fast way to clear out a garage, closet, or shed of bulky burdens.
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Summary: How to Declutter Your Life
- Sort through your stuff and decide to keep, toss, donate or move them.
- Invest in custom organizers for especially cluttered areas of the home.
- Spend 10-15 minutes decluttering every day.
- Book off a weekend to organize your home after a move.
- Store your seasonal items off-site with Second Closet.
WebMD. Clutter Control: Is Too Much 'Stuff' Draining You? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/clutter-control#1
Huffington Post. A Fine Mess: Why We Need to Ditch the Clutter. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-kelley/clutter_b_1656670.html