If you’re sick of all the clutter but still not ready to do the work, here are 3 reasons less clutter makes your life better.
A few years ago, we lived in a very messy house thanks to my hoarderish tendencies.
It was just the two of us, living with two furry dogs in a 5 bedroom house. We had one bedroom we affectionately called “the blue room”, due to it’s 1970s bright blue carpet.
The blue room was covered wall-to-wall in junk. Despite us nicknaming the room based on the carpet, we couldn’t really see much of it.
When we found out we were pregnant with our first child, we knew the blue room would make the perfect nursery. It was the room closest to the heater and would keep the baby warm during the cold Wyoming winter.
(Fun fact: our son was born during a snowstorm…in March.)
There was so much junk we would have to clear out of the blue room in order to make it into a nursery. So we did what any good procrastinator would do and waited until I was 8 months along.
My husband kicked me out of the room, telling me he would clean up the whole room…as long as I didn’t come in and try to “rescue” things from the trash or donation box.
In the 5 years since that ordeal, I have overcome my hoarderish tendencies and gotten rid of 70% of our stuff.
I know that if I can overcome my emotional battles with clutter, you can too.
Here are 3 reasons less clutter makes your life better.
Less Clutter Means You Spend Less Time Searching for Things
The more clutter you have, the more time you will spend looking for your things. There are two reasons for this.
First, the more clutter you have, the more spots for things to hide. Imagine a completely clear kitchen countertop. You plop your keys on top when you come home.
The next day when you’re ready to leave, you walk into your kitchen to find your keys. How long will it take you to find them?
Um, literally no time. They’re sitting right there, out in the open. Yoink! You pick them up and you’re on your way.
Let’s compare that to a cluttered kitchen countertop. Dirty dishes pile high around the sink. Oatmeal, cereal, and peanut butter are still out from breakfast. Unopened mail sits in an ever growing pile shoved in a corner.
You come home, throw your keys down without giving a second thought. The next day when you’re ready to leave, how long will it take you to find them?
Definitely much longer than the scenario with the uncluttered kitchen.
You see, when you have clutter sitting on every surface, it makes it infinitely easy for the things you need to hide. And when they hide, you can spend a huge amount of time looking for them.
Less Clutter Means Less Stress, Frustration and Anxiety
It’s no surprise there’s a correlation between clutter and anxiety. Having a cluttered home can make everything harder to do.
You want to cook a healthy dinner but give up and go get takeout once you realize it’ll take an hour to clean the kitchen. You want to pick up an old hobby but give up after searching for the supplies for 20 minutes…and coming up empty handed. Or, it takes you twice as long to pack for a trip because you can’t find the toiletries.
Clutter can cause frustration in every part of your life, from the daily chores to setting up for fun things like holidays. It can stop you from doing things you love, like inviting friends over.
Before I changed my hoarderish ways, everything was a hassle. And honestly, when everything’s a hassle, I usually gave up on things before I even started.
If I wanted to knit, but I had to shuffle everything around in the closet to gain access to the yarn and knitting needles, I’d usually give up and go watch TV.
Not that there’s anything wrong with TV, but if you’re using that because it’s much easier than the thing you ACTUALLY want to do…there’s a problem.
When you commit to decluttering your life, you cut down on the amount of emotional stress you have in your life, which means you have more patience and energy for the people who matter.
Less Clutter Means You Create Space for the Life You Want to Live
This is probably one of the most important reasons to declutter your home, and yet nobody is talking about it. Most decluttering experts will only teach you the strategy for getting organized, and that’s a problem.
Because decluttering is simple. You don’t need a decluttering method. You pick up an item and you either need it or you don’t. Simple, right?
It sounds stinkin’ simple, but the problem is that most decluttering methods don’t address the emotional baggage that comes along with clutter. There are deep down reasons we accumulate clutter and if you don’t address them, you won’t solve the problem.
I want you to take a moment to dream about what you would do with a decluttered home.
I know this seems like fluff, but it’s actually critical to helping you be successful. Because decluttering is hard work. You’re rewriting years or decades of bad habits.
And while changing habits is totally possible, you need to have a deep down meaningful reason.
Why do you want a clean home? What would you do with the space?
Having less clutter gives you more patience and energy, which means you would have more room to live the life you want to live.
With less clutter, you have more patience and energy to volunteer at your kids school, help out at church, or start a business. Things that seem overwhelmingly impossible with a cluttered home start to feel possible when you declutter.
It’s Not About the Stuff
Y’all…let me rant for a moment. Because while all these decluttering and minimalist experts are telling you to get rid of your stuff, I’m over here telling you it’s not about the stuff.
It’s not about the stuff…it’s about the life you want to live with the stuff.
What’s the point of cleaning up your home if the maintenance of it makes you miserable?
I have a confession to make. I don’t have a super clean house. When I’m at the airport and I tell people I’m a decluttering blogger, 9 times out of 10 their reaction is “Ack, you’d had to see my house!”
That’s because we automatically assume that the goal of home management is to have a completely pristine house. If a clean house makes you feel fulfillment in life, then by all means, you do you.
But for the bulk of us, we’d rather spend our days doing something else than cleaning.
So before you start getting rid of stuff just because somebody told you so, get clear on the life you want to live in your home. Let that dream be the guide of your decluttering decisions.
“Do I need 17 baking pans?” I don’t know, do you? If you bake every day and dream of running a small scale bakery out of your home, then maybe you do.
But for someone like me who hates to cook, any amount over the bare minimal is just clutter.
You see the difference? It’s not about the stuff…it’s about the life you want to live with the stuff.
Get crystal clear about the dream for your home, and then declutter your little tail off to make that dream possible.