When you move into a new apartment and set everything up for the first time, things are well organized and every item has a place. In a few days, it starts getting a bit messy. Life is busy, after all, and who has time to tidy the house every single day? By a few more weeks, you can’t find your stuff all that easily anymore. You’re purchasing new things, adding them to your rooms, and all the while physical space is in decline. There are additions but you aren’t getting rid of anything.
Is the image of that already stressing you out? This may seem like an obvious enough observation, but in today’s blog post, we look at it through scientific lenses to understand the hidden workings of our nature to buy and hoard.
When hoarders are told to get rid of excess articles, they always have a ‘just-in-case’ reply as an excuse. What if I’ll have need for it in the future, they say? But in most cases, the item has not been used recently, has become of no use, and might actually benefit someone else if it were donated. Humans are simply afraid of regret, and the ‘just-in-case’ syndrome manifests precisely because of that.
Clutter is a major cause of stress and anxiety. A survey found that one-third of respondents avoided spending time at home due to the mess, and up to 90% of Americans feel that clutter negatively impacts their life. But here’s the reason why we shouldn’t procrastinate on clutter – it’s been estimated that reducing clutter can reduce time spent doing housework by an incredible 40%.
How do you know if clutter is the cause of stress in your life? If you feel ashamed to invite others to your house, or catch yourself avoiding going home, clutter might be the reason why. It deprives the human mind of creativity – unless we get rid of the clutter, we can’t free up our mind to fuss over the more important matters. That being said, on the opposite end of the spectrum, being too uptight and fussy could also limit creativity and free thoughts. Every individual has to balance out what works best for them and cultivate a comfortable environment that encourages their own spontaneity, creativity and imagination.
Since decluttering can alleviate stress and anxiety, let’s discuss how to go about it. Different experts have different ways of decluttering. One way is to create pockets of order, tackling problem areas one at a time. Start with something small – your purse, a bag, or just your closet; though the iconic Marie Kondo differs from this viewpoint and suggests doing a decluttering marathon of your entire house to prevent slacking. She suggests immediately discarding things that no longer ‘spark joy’. A five-step decluttering system involves the following steps: 1. Keep the ones that ‘spark joy’ 2. Sell items that have significant value 3. Donate items in good quality to charity 4. Trash or recycle things that are of no use to yourself and others 5. If you don’t know what to do with an item, put a tab in it and – don’t forget! – review it come your next decluttering session.
Once you have followed these five steps, the amount of things in your house would be significantly reduced, and the ones that remain would serve a purpose – be it aesthetic or functional – and therefore be easier to organize.
As a result of this entire process, you would feel less stressed, less anxious, more creative and would have more time to attend to important things or to relax. Are you planning to KonMari your lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!
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