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Sick of Clutter? How to Declutter your Space

Is clutter making you sick?   Have you ever wondered why you feel so uneasy when your home is a mess?  It is a known fact that stress has a negative effect on us emotionally and physically.   A 2016 study by Catherine Roster at the University of New Mexico looked at how clutter affects how you feel about your environment and your life.    Studies have proven that clutter causes stress, and anxiety and prevents the home from being a place of comfort or pleasure.   For some being disorganized is not  a lifestyle choice. 

Are you Disorganized?

I am, and it makes me crazy, angry and helpless.  There is no law that says your house has to be perfect.  It is your home, room, etc. and it needs to be comfortable for you and your family.  When clutter begins to make you unhappy, it is time to make some changes or get some help.   There are tons of websites, and videos that can help you bring order to your home.   Remember don’t condemn yourself or put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect.  Reclaiming your space is a process.  You have to tackle this problem one small piece at a time.

Your Challenge with a Messy Space

If you have a challenge with clutter, you know how frustrated you feel when your home or space is in disarray.  And what about that messy room you hide behind a closed door?  Have you ever gone to someone’s home where everything is in place?  Do you notice how light and free you felt?   That is the healing value of an organized home.  Now, do you remember how you felt when you went back to your home?    Yep, you wanted to walk away and not return.  Pretty depressing, huh?

We have all watched in horror the TV show “Hoarders.”  This is clutter on steroids.  However,  this is compulsive hoarding which is a disorder and can to get better with professional counseling and is not the same as being disorganized.

What are the Benefits of Clean Space? 

There is hard work involved in tackling years of clutter.  No one can do this for you.   If you are willing to take on the challenge, you will experience tremendous benefits that will revitalize your health,  life,  and relationships with others.

Benefits of Removing Clutter from you Space

  • Less Stress
  • More energy
  • Clearing thinking
  • Peace of mind
  • Weight loss
  • More creative
  • Allergy relief
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Better relationships
  • Less danger of accidents

Is Clutter Making you Sick?

Clutter and Stress.  The Mayo Clinic reports that stress negatively affects the mind and body,  producing fatigue, upset stomach, problems with mood, headaches and muscle tension.  The report further goes on to say that stress affects the mind causing irritability, depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, and restlessness.  The good news is, when you declutter your home, business, or living space, you will see significant improvement in your mood and physical being.

How to Get Started

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So, as Mrs. Doubtfired said, “Help is on the way!”   

  1.  Get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in a year or more.  If you have clothes you love, but cannot wear, don’t wait until that trend comes back around, donate them to Goodwill or some other thrift store.  Make sure they are in good condition.  You can get rid of clutter and help a charity at the same time.

2.  Discard anything that is broken and not cost effective to repair.  If you have an old TV that you have been meaning to have fixed, keep in mind you can buy a new television for less than the cost to repair the old one.

3.  Work on your clutter, 5 to 10 minutes at a time.  You can do this once or several times a time.  Set the timer on your Smartphone or use an egg timer.  This way you don’t feel like you are battling an insurmountable problem.

4.  Make your Kids a Part of the Solution – The 5-10 minute rule also works with kids.  Make it a game to see how much they can get done before the alarm goes off.  Make a great big fuss about how well they did!  Children love and need praise when they have done something good.

5.  Create a Give Away Bag.   Use a garbage bag to put all the items you are going to give away.

6.  Create a Throw Away Bag.  Use a garbage bag to put things that are worn and not good enough to donate.

7.  Have a Yard Sale.   Forever yard sales have been the way people got rid of unneeded and unwanted items.  So, why clean house and make a few dollars.

8.  Invite a Good Friend to Watch you Clean.  It is amazing how much easier it is to clean and declutter when you have someone sitting with you.  They do not have to help you straighten up.  Their presence seems to do the trick.  So, if you have a good friend that won’t tell the community how messy you are, have them come over for emotional support.

9.  Leave usable item next to the trash.   If you live in an apartment, people are always looking for good things people have thrown away.  Leave good stuff in front of the garbage bin.  When you return in an hour or two, you will find it has disappeared.  Your discarded item was a jackpot for someone else.

10.  Put you Credit Cards where you can’t get at them Easily.   This is a preemptive tip! It is a fact that we all buy too many things we don’t really need.  I have purchased a Pilates machine from HSN that I have literally used 3 times.  To try to prevent an impulse at home purchase on TV or the Internet, put your credit cards out of reach.  Hopefully, while you are looking for your card, you will have time to ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”

Awareness if Half the Battle

Being aware that you have a struggle with trouble with clutter is half the battle.  The next thing to do is to devise a strategy like some of the ones mentioned above.  Give yourself permission to be messy, but take 10 minutes a day to straighten up.  It is said that it takes 33 days to replace a good habit with a bad habit.  Work at it every day and have you, kids, to do the same thing.  Tell you, children, you have to work on cleaning their room up for 5-10 minutes a day.   It will help them establish a good habit that hopefully will go with them a lifetime.

Keep a Cleaning Journal

I know it sounds corny, but take notes on how you feel before and after you straighten up.  This will help reinforce the positive emotional and physical benefits of working on decluttering.  You may find that on some of your worst day, you can give yourself a pick me up in 10 minutes.  Don’t forget to give yourself a small reward every time to you.  That can be sitting down for a cup of coffee or having a small piece of chocolate.  Cleaners choice!

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