Positive Life Tip: How Can Decluttering Make Me Happier?

What exactly is clutter?

Well, over the past few days, I have been trying my best to declutter by throwing out old stuff and deciding what to keep! Sometimes it may seem overwhelming when your cupboards are filled with stacks of clothes that you can barely lift them or drawers filled with old receipts and unusable items. While it took a bit of time, I felt much light and happier after decluttering because I felt as if a “burden” was lifted from me. Decluttering can indeed have a positive impact on our well-being.

But then again, clutter isn’t just about physical stuff; it can manifest in various forms. Here are three common types of clutter that can impact our lives:

Physical Clutter:
This is the typical stuff we think of: overflowing cupboards, stacks of old items, and storage units filled to the brim. Physical clutter can drain our energy, make it hard to find things, and create a sense of chaos in our living spaces! The worst thing is buying something new and later finding out that you already have it! Sometimes we may wish for more space but the truth is, we just need less stuff. I know people that will only buy new clothing items after they have thrown or donated an old clothing item. This requires a lot of discipline but her cupboard is definitely much tidier!

We also hold on to a lot of old items for nostalgia but we don’t have to keep everything, choose only the ones that truly matter. Our memories are within us, not within our things.

Here are a few tips to declutter physical spaces:-

Start Small: Choose a specific area (e.g., a drawer, shelf, or closet) to begin. Set a timer (15-30 minutes) and sort items into “Keep,” “Donate,” “Trash,” or “Unsure” piles.

Room-by-Room Approach: Tackle one room at a time. Break down the decluttering process into manageable chunks.
Sort and Categorize: Group belongings into categories (keep, donate, sell, discard) to make decisions easier.

We should be putting more value on having more free space instead of having more items.

I love this unknown quote which says: Our home is a LIVING space, not a STORAGE space. We need to be able to relax and enjoy where we live.

Digital Clutter:
Digital clutter includes overflowing email inboxes, unorganised computer files, and unused apps on our devices. It’s the digital equivalent of physical clutter, and it can overwhelm us just as much!

Here are a few tips to declutter digital spaces:-

Assess the Clutter: Take stock of your digital clutter—files, apps, emails, and notifications.
Create a Plan: Develop a decluttering strategy. Prioritise what needs attention first.
Delete and Organise: Remove unnecessary files, unsubscribe from newsletters, and organise your digital devices.
Screen Detox: Spend screen-free time to clear mental clutter and make room for creativity.

Emotional Clutter:
Emotional clutter consists of negative patterns, beliefs, and unresolved feelings. Examples include self-doubt, grudges, and limiting statements like “I can’t.” Emotional clutter can weigh us down and affect our mental well-being. We can’t let emotional clutter ruin our days and make our thinking foggy and unstructured.

Here are a few tips to declutter our emotional space:-

Identify Emotional Clutter: Do you hold onto negative emotions, grudges, or limiting beliefs? Recognise what weighs you down. Reflect on past hurts and consider forgiveness as a way to declutter emotionally.
Release and Surrender:
Let go of fears and trust yourself. Replace fear with faith and stillness. Write down worries and thoughts to declutter your mind.
Practice Stillness: Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer to declutter your soul.

As a quote goes by Wayne L. Misner, “Keeping baggage from the past will leave no room for happiness in the future.”

Remember, clutter often stems from postponed decisions—whether it’s physical, digital or emotional. By addressing clutter in all its forms, we can create space for a more intentional and fulfilling life.

Let’s now explore some of the ways decluttering can contribute to our happiness:

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: A study conducted by the University of Connecticut found that decluttering can directly reduce stress stemming from a messy environment. By removing or controlling clutter, we may feel less anxious and more confident. This applies to either physical, digital or emotional clutter.

Improved Mood: Tidying up our spaces can boost our mood. When we declutter, we create a sense of order and control, which can lead to feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. Plus, a clean and organised environment tends to promote positive emotions.

Enhanced Productivity: A clutter-free space allows us to focus better. When our surroundings are chaotic, it’s challenging to concentrate. Decluttering energises us into productivity mode, making it easier to tackle tasks and achieve goals.

So, a few good questions to ask ourselves to prepare ourselves for decluttering are:

  1. What type of clutter is taking up the most space in my life?
  2. What is stopping me from decluttering my physical, digital or emotional space?
  3. What is one small step I can do to start decluttering?
  4. When can I start?
  5. What support or help do I need?

The act of decluttering may seem overwhelming at first, but it is all about taking small steps!

Here are some other quotes about clutter which I love:-

“Less Stuff Means Less To Clean, Less To Organise, Less To Store, Less Mess” – Unknown

“The More Things You Own, The More They Own You” – Unknown

“Clutter Is Anything That Doesn’t Belong In A Space – Whether Because It Belongs Elsewhere In Your Home, Or It Doesn’t Belong In Your Home Any Longer” – Chrissy Halton

“Clutter Is Not Just Physical Stuff, It’s Old Ideas, Toxic Relationships And Bad Habits” – Eleanor Brown

“If It Doesn’t Add To Your Life, It Doesn’t Belong In Your Life” – Unknown

“Once You Need Less, Then You’ll Have More” – Unknown

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