In society today, it is common that ‘stuff’ is a sign of privilege and wealth. Gone are the days where families have to plan their years savings around buying their next appliance. When you can buy clothes, appliances and trinkets for such cheap prices, a trend has developed where people are buying everything new, and masses of it.
The Personal Cost of Stuff
Not even mentioning the devastating effects this can have on mother-earth, there are personal costs of this ‘stuff.’ Being a mother of 3 little ones, I have been politely asking family to stop giving me stuff. But crazy as it sounds, this has been stressful in itself and ultimately has been falling on deaf ears for years.
I want to start out saying, I have a loving family who want to help us out. That is such a lovely and generous thing and I am extremely appreciative of their support. But there is a point where too much stuff becomes a burden and the opposite of helpful.
I can not tell you how many times I have heard them say as they gift us more stuff (that we don’t need) – “but it was so cheap!” or “it was only $5”. Usually, this type of thing is some useless thing, that is not very interesting and my kids don’t play with it. Worst of all it creates clutter and mess. It gets pulled out of the toy box and dispersed around the home waiting for me to pick it up.
I wish people would think of the long term cost of stuff. I am a business woman and a mum and do struggle with the realities of balancing work and home life. Because the mess stresses me out, I hire a cleaner as I can’t do it all on my own. But now, because something was initially cheap, it is now causing us family stress. On top is now costing me my hard earned money as I am paying for someone to pick it up.
When I say please for their birthday just get them one well considered item. But then people interpret that as ‘expensive’ and don’t listen anyway.
One day, sooo sick of it all, I filled up three of those extra large garbage bags full of toys and took them to the charity store. Feeling so guilty and ungrateful. That I was getting rid of this stuff. Basically giving away the money my loved ones have spent on my family.
And do you know what? SIX MONTHS LATER my son saw one of the same toys in a cafe when we were out- remembered it and asked me where ours was. No other negative repercussions! Overall, my children did not notice that 3 garbage bags of toys just disappeared overnight!!
So a quick take away from this, is I have let it go. If people give us something we don’t want, I move it on… NO GUILT. I have told them, they have not listened, so it is their choice.
So do we need all this stuff?
Since my kids didn’t notice that it was missing I don’t think they really need it. I personally think kids have too many toys these days, but that’s another blog article for another day.
Now, if they take everything out of the toy box, it is easier for me to get them to clean up! Before it was too overwhelming for them being little ones. So removing the clutter has empowered my kids to learn responsibility. And the other benefit is that there just isn’t so much stuff laying around anymore.
But it’s not just my kids. I grew up in a family who loves to shop and loves a good bargain. I too used to love it too, but something has changed and these days I would rather:
- not create unnecessary waste
- save my money and spend it on family activities, education, memories…
There are areas of my home that have been hanging over me on my ‘to do’ list for years. I just don’t want to create more stress from more rooms filled to the brim. Then there’s the whole process of working out if you should get rid of it or keep it.
Somewhere between 2 and 6% of the population has a hoarding disorder. I reckon even more than that have a shopping addiction. But even if we are not that bad, most of us do have too much clutter around the home.
Unfortunately, keeping clutter around can have a negative impact on your overall health. Clearing your home of clutter can clear your mind of stress. And that’s just one of the many health benefits of decluttering!
As you experience these benefits, you’ll feel your stress ease away. Keep reading to discover the seven benefits of organising your home.
1. Confidence Boost
When you’re surrounded by clutter, you might feel it’s more difficult than usual to solve problems. As a result, your confidence might waver. Decluttering, however, can improve your decision-making skills with a much-needed confidence boost.
Take a look around your home. For the amount of space you have, you can only include a limited number of items.
Make sure each item has its own home.
If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t belong! Make a decision about where to place each item. Otherwise, remove it from the room.
Decluttering does not mean wastage. You can always donate the items you have around your home that feel superfluous. Decluttering will improve your self-efficacy. As you feel more competent, you’ll find it’s easier to make decisions in the future.
2. Ease Anxiety
In one study, women who lived in a cluttered home had increased cortisol levels, which is the hormone associated with stress. Cluttered spaces can make you feel surrounded by chaos. As a result, you’ll feel more stressed in your own home.
One of the health benefits of decluttering is its ability to help you relax.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed or irritable, you can ease your stress away. Cleaning away the clutter can help you live happier and healthier without stress weighing you down.
Otherwise, excess cortisol levels can cause a number of health problems, including:
- Chest pains
- Muscle tension
- Changes in your sex drive
- Sleeping issues
- Stomach problems
Stress can impact your mood and behaviours, too. For example, you’ll likely feel:
- Low in motivation
- Sad or depressed
You might begin overeating or relying on substance abuse. You’ll also exercise less, which can contribute to health issues. As a result, you could develop:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Cleaning up your home will lower your stress and anxiety while helping you avoid these health concerns.
3. It’s Energising
A messy environment will create numerous distractions, which can slow you down. As a result, you’ll feel lethargic and lack the motivation to take on the day. Cleaning up ahead of time can help you discover a “get things done” mentality.
Among these decluttering health benefits, the energy boost you’ll experience is key. When you have more energy, you’re more likely to use that energy throughout the day. For example, you might decide to burn off that excess energy with a workout.
Working out will decrease your cortisol levels, which will help relieve stress and relax!
When you experience an energy boost, you’ll remain more productive and in a better mood.
4. Reduce Wandering
A messy home can make it difficult for you to focus. As a result, your mind will begin to wander. Instead of getting your work done, you might struggle to process information as well as you used to.
One of the benefits of cluttering is it can inspire productivity.
Take the time to organise your workspace at the beginning and end of each day. Put loose papers away, clear unnecessary items off your desk, and tuck your chair in. A clean space will keep you from getting distracted.
5. Sleep Soundly
If your cluttered home is stressing you out, you might have a hard time relaxing at the end of a long day. You need at least seven to nine hours of sleep in order to function properly. Otherwise, you’ll feel grumpy and exhausted the next day.
In fact, sleep deprivation can cause a number of health problems, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased car accidents and injuries
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Balance issues
- Weakened immune system
- Mood swings
- Memory issues
- Low sex drive
- Increased risk of heart disease
Even when your mental processing reduces as you sleep, your brain can still interpret external stimuli. That includes the mess you left behind before bed!
Cleaning up and decluttering before you go to sleep can help you relax.
First, make sure to clear your bedroom of any projects. For example, make sure your laundry is folded and put away. Make sure the kitchen is clean as well.
That way, you have one less concern in the morning.
This process will trick your mind into believing it’s time to rest. Then, you’ll fall into a deep sleep. The next day, your decision-making and memory processing skills will improve!
6. Minimise Allergies
Failing to clean up regularly will let dust, dander, and pet hair build throughout your home. Every time you breathe that dusty air in, you’re putting your health at risk. Exposing yourself to dust can cause an allergic reaction.
Decluttering will help you remove dust and allergens before they can build. Make sure to change your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter is often the cause of increased allergy issues.
Otherwise, consider updating your vacuum. A HEPA filter will help you effectively clean your home.
When you minimise allergens within your home, you’ll feel happier and healthier every day.
7. Avoid Depression
Increased cortisol levels can also lead to depression. In many cases, people blame themselves regarding the extreme mess within their homes. They might also feel guilty for not taking the time to clean and organise.
When you declutter, take the time to track your emotional responses. How do you feel each time you clean? Do you feel overwhelmed on the days you don’t clean?
Clearing the air and decluttering your home can help you relax, which can help you reduce depression symptoms.
Cleaner, Happier, Healthier: 7 Health Benefits of Decluttering
Live happier, healthier, and above all else, cleaner! Clean up and start experiencing these seven health benefits of decluttering yourself. A cleaner space will help you avoid health concerns for overall better wellbeing!
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