Benefits of a Clutter Free Home
By Danielle Bushelle-Elcock
Clutter can be defined as a disorderly heap or assemblage of things or litter; a state or condition of confusion that occurs from a collection of items for sentimental reasons, a belief that they can improve your standard of life or when left in a chaotic state.
Clutter bombards the mind with excessive stimuli, causing the senses to continuously work on things that aren’t necessary. These stimuli constantly compete for our attention distracting us from what our focus should be on, decreasing productivity.
Researchers at Yale University tested this by the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurements to map brain response to organized and disorganized surroundings. The conclusions were strong, to focus optimally and process information effectively, clear the clutter from your home and work environment.
Furthermore, clutter inhibits creativity by invading the headspace needed to brainstorm and problem solve. Princeton University's Neuroscience Institute have found that when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts the brain's ability to process information.
Cluttered environments can further frustrate us by preventing us from locating items quickly, such as important documents. We can become increasingly stressed when this makes us late for important appointments or work. Stress can be further intensified when the effects of clutter impacts on our ability to be productive and efficient in our already hectic schedules.
Clutter can even affect our physical health. If you can’t find those sneakers, you surely aren’t going to the gym or taking that much needed walk. In addition, this overwhelming presence can deplete energy levels and lead to procrastination.
If clutter negatively impacts us, why is it so hard to rid our surroundings and lives of it?
The anterior cingulate cortex and insula in the brain have been found to respond when letting go of personal possessions; these happen to be the same areas associated with pain.
Although it may be difficult, they are many benefits of having clutter free surroundings:
- The elimination of harmful germs, moulds, dust mites and other allergens.
- Reduced risk of falls and fire.
- Improve overall mood.
Here are a few tips to help with your decluttering:
- Take stock of what you have, first. Discard and donate unwanted items, this will free up space for new items.
- From the start, set constraints. Limit how many clothes, electronics or housewares purchased, furthermore, ensure what you are buying is needed.
- Minimize your frustrations by spending a few hours on a particular project or room.
- Do not tackle the task alone. Grab other family members, roommates or seek out a professional cleaner or organizer.
- Declutter on a continuous basis, this will assist with maintaining your surroundings. If possible, reserve a few minutes daily for this activity.
- Create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies so you can easily find what you're looking for and label these for quick reference.
- Immediately replace items where they belong after use.
- Storing unused items will contribute to the clutter. If you do not use it, you don't want or need it, so, get rid of it. If unsure, test if you will miss it by placing it in a closed box in the garage or closet. If the box has not been opened for at least 6 months, donate.
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