Live Consciously

Decluttering and the Mental and Physical Benefits of Creating a More Organized Life


As a professional organizer, I see how much an uncluttered environment—home, office, bedroom, you name it—impacts my clients’ wellbeing. When they create a clean space, their stress levels immediately decrease while productivity and creativity skyrocket.

Scientific data from the Princeton Institute of Neuroscience and UCLA Center for Everyday Lives of Families support this anecdotal evidence; clutter impedes a healthy and more fulfilling life. 

Surrounding yourself with overflowing shelves, messy desks, dirty countertops, disorganized pantries, and unmade beds may negatively impact your life. The visual distraction of clutter causes cognitive overload, which makes processing information more difficult, reduces working memory, and leads to decision fatigue.

From a psychological perspective, the presence of clutter contributes to feelings of chaos and lack of control, creating anxiety. Finally, there is the monetary cost of accumulating possessions and the time spent maintaining more stuff.

6 Tips for Decluttering Your Environment

The mental and physical benefits of decluttering are well documented: less stress, a healthier diet, better sleep, more leisure time, and a greater level of fulfillment

These six tips for decluttering will help you reap these benefits and lead a more organized, nutritious life.

1. Purge the Junk

Getting rid of sentimental possessions can be draining and unnecessary. But, you can pair down many items without excess emotion: clothing that doesn’t fit, socks without mates, old toiletries and cosmetics, or expired food and medication. Once you’ve tackled these areas, you’ll feel empowered to move on to the more difficult purging. 

2. Group Similar Items Together 

Grouping like items together is the only way you’ll know how much of something you have and when you need more. Multiple storage locations for the same item (or type of item—nail polish, for example) is a recipe for frustration and breeds a chaotic environment. Give everything a home and put things away after you use them.

3. Store Items Where You Use Them

Keeping items in the same room where you use them makes for easy access. And, you’re more likely to stay organized when convenience dictates your designated storage spaces. If you charge your phone by your bed, that’s where the charger belongs. Store paper and ink refills next to the printer, and keep sunblock in your mudroom if that’s where you put it on.

4. Use Uniform Organizational Tools

Using uniform hangers, labels, and containers throughout your home will eliminate visual noise and make closets, pantries, and drawers more peaceful to peruse.

5. Label Everything

Keeping things labeled is the only way to ensure everyone in a household knows where everything lives. It’s also the key to maintaining any organizational system. 

6. Declutter Digitally

Unsubscribing from as many newsletters, shopping apps, and group emails as possible is the first step to digital decluttering. Then, create a digital filing system for emails and photos to ensure you can find what you need when you need it.

Clutter in your home can be a metaphor for the clutter in your mind. Living Consciously and letting go of the physical possessions that weigh you down will help you enjoy the Nutritious Life you’re meant to lead.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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