When I was moving into my new apartment last month, I realized I had a lot of stuff. All of this stuff contributed to a great amount of clutter that I had to spend hours sifting through once I moved in.
It honestly stressed me out.
So, I decided right then and there, if I couldn’t come up with a practical reason to keep an item, I would donate it to Goodwill or toss it.
So, I began to declutter and got rid of as much stuff as I could possibly part with. After multiple trips to Goodwill with giant trash bags full of items, I had finally sifted through all of the clutter and was able to find a spot for everything I actually needed in my new apartment. It was a breath of fresh air, knowing I only had the things I needed.
The hard part was trying to overcome my emotional attachments. That t-shirt I used to wear all the time when I was 10? I loved it, but I had no practical use for it anymore since it didn’t fit. Did I really need six bottles of different kinds of lotion that were several years old and I had never used? Nope. Toss them in the trash.
As I said before, when I had all of this clutter, it stressed me out. After a quick Google search, I found out I wasn’t alone and that there is scientific proof that mess can cause stress.
According to PsychologyToday.com, these are the main reasons why clutter causes stress:
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
- Clutter inhibits creativityand productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).
The best way to handle clutter is to just dive right in. It may seem like a daunting task, but once you get started, it should be pretty easy to tackle. To make it even easier, ask a friend to serve as your life janitor and help you go through it all. They’ll help keep you on task and make sure you’re not trying to keep things you don’t really need.
Clutter doesn’t have to just cover physical items. You can definitely have clutter on an emotional level. Maybe you know a toxic person (real or online) who is constantly negative and dragging you down. Find a way to tell this person their negativity is cluttering up your emotional well-being, and help them find a way to be more positive. If worst comes to worst, you can always unfriend them!
It may be hard to de-clutter your emotional and physical life. When it’s all done, you’ll feel so much better knowing you’ve taken yet another step to simplifying and living a stress-free life!