Looking for a way to reduce daily stress? De-clutter! Here’s a summary of how it helps, and a few quick tips for putting this simple solution to work for you. In Part 2 we’ll dive deeper into crafting systems that work.
There’s a lot to living in the 21st C that’s exciting — miraculous even — and a lot that can make us feel like we’re constantly on the edge of spinning OUT OF CONTROL!
Recently I had the privilege of helping someone who was still deep in the trenches of one of life’s major stress-inducing traumas. The items in and around their home — many things that were associated with just life-as-usual, had suddenly become painful reminders of the unwanted change, and of the new life flow and routines that were going to be required.
- Our first step: removing the things that were no longer helpful, happy, or necessary. That’s de-cluttering, in a nutshell,
- Next: finding homes for things that remained, or putting them back in ways that worked WITH her lifestyle, and supported ease in her life. That’s organizing.
And when you combine the two, the effect can be pretty powerful. For many clients, it feels like having a weighted blanket lifted, or like they can breathe more easily.
Can the simple act of de-cluttering really make that much difference? Yup!
WHY does de-cluttering work to reduce daily stress?
It has to do with decision fatigue. We all start off with a certain baseline ability to make decisions each day. The more decisions you have to make, or hurdles you encounter, each day, the faster life sucks away your reserves.
Clutter makes your brain have to stop and sort through more information, draining some of those stress-management reserves— for instance:
- visually you’re forced to search through a more-cluttered field to try to spot what you want out;
- mentally you’re running life on “repeat” as you try to remember where something could be — or where someone else might have left it, or if you even still have it!
- Physically it takes time to move things around to get to what you want.
The more STUFF that surrounds you, the less you “see,” too. Your brain, in an effort to help you, learns to bundle groups of things together. (This is related to the phenomena that makes you start to see certain models of cars once you consider buying one yourself.)
So while displaying mementos and photos can increase your joy, if you put them ALL out at once, they risk becoming a busy blur.
What if just the idea of de-cluttering stresses you out?
If you see the importance, but the thought of getting started falls somewhere between “cleaning the toilet” and “having a root canal,” on your activity rating scale, try these 2 simple tips for getting started:
- Consider what you have most often lost, or needed to grab quickly, this week.
- One by one, choose a prominent home for them, close to the location where you need them, e.g.,.
- give keys a hook, key box or bowl;
- put your most-used spices on a tiered rack close to the stove;
- hang your favorite clothes together — or try sorting clothes by color, so it’s easier to make decisions on late-running mornings.
Is it worth it? One recent client — a busy mom running every which way (as so many must!) — reported having her best night sleep in 1-½ YEARS after a single organizing session. If that kind of peace is what you’re craving, then YES, it’s SO WORTH IT!
Lastly, if you’re in serious stress overload, give me a call—working with a pro like me can cut hours (even days) off DIY jobs if you’re really stressed out. Having an impartial, non-judgmental partner on hand can bring a lightness back into your mood and your space.
You deserve to feel happy and in control in your home or office environment! So can de-cluttering help reduce daily stress? You bet, and if you’d like to start by controlling closet chaos, download my easy checklist, free!