As a culture, we are drowning in stuff. We’re buying bigger homes (which we fill with stuff), purchasing more clothes and toys, and in more debt because of it. A lot of the stuff we purchase isn’t built to last and leads to us tossing out more waste (and recycling doesn’t make as much an impact as we think). We need clutter-free homes for our health and happiness!
For the last several years, I have been simplifying my life in all kinds of ways: from what I buy (or more accurately don’t buy), how I travel, how I work, to all of the decisions I make to create a healthy home. It’s been a process – and one that has brought me and Josh a lot of happiness and lower levels of stress.
This is my complete guide to decluttering to help you establish a clutter-free home!
10 Health Benefits of a Clutter-Free Home
Lower Stress Levels and Improved Mental Health
The chaos of a house filled with clutter stresses us out!
Normally, our levels of cortisol (a hormone linked to stress) peak in the morning to help us wake up and then fall throughout the day. In this study, women who reported their homes as cluttered or unfinished had flatter cortisol slopes than the women who described their homes as restorative. Flatter cortisol slopes are associated with chronic stress and poor mental health. The women with clutter also reported feeling more depressed throughout the day.
Studies on sleep and clutter reveal that people who have hoarder tendencies are more likely to have trouble sleeping. When you add in the stress of clutter outlined above, you’re piling up ways to prevent getting a good night’s sleep.
Our working environments matter, whether we are working from home or in an office. Clutter is highly linked to procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. Researchers note that procrastination and indecision, in turn, further exacerbate mess and clutter. Break that cycle and boost your focus and attention by creating a clutter-free home or workplace!
Reduced Asthma or Allergy Symptoms
A pileup of possessions at home can lead to more surfaces where dirt, dust, pet dander and grime can collect, possibly triggering existing allergies or asthma. It can be more challenging to get into all the nooks and crannies to clean when there is so much stuff in the way.
More Frequent Exercise
Researchers were surprised to find that a clean home was the main factor affecting physical activity in this long-term study of African American adults. The cleaner the home, the more likely participants were to exercise – other factors like air pollution, sidewalk conditions, street conditions or traffic had no bearing.
Also, let’s not forget that the task of cleaning can be a workout in and of itself!
A home full of clutter means more tripping hazards! Toys (for both people and pets!), books, clothes, sentimental items, excessive furniture or home decor and more can turn your place into an obstacle course. This can potentially lead to you (or guests) tripping over stuff and suffering minor or major injuries.
More Mindful Eating
A study comparing women in organized kitchen and messy kitchen environments found that women ate more cookies in the cluttered kitchen. (As someone who is nicknamed ‘The Torrent’ in the kitchen, this doesn’t hold true for me!)
You’ll Save Money
Purchasing fewer things means that you’ll be spending less money on stuff that will cause clutter in your home.
Less Work and Maintenance
A clutter-free home will naturally decrease your household chores, tidying up, and house cleaning.
A Better Sense of Self and Accomplishment
Tackling big tasks like decluttering and organization are mighty satisfying! Creating a clutter-free home can lead to a more positive sense of self, pride, and confidence.
Decluttering Tips for a clutter-free home
If you’re ready to start decluttering your home, these resources are my recommended starting points!
How to Purchase Fewer Things
The first step to reduced clutter is buying less stuff!
I have developed a practice I call intentional simplicity – being mindful of how and where I spend my money, how I spend my time, and who I spend it with. It’s not at all about deprivation, but about selection. The one question I ask when making decisions: Will this simplify or complicate? Having the intention to live with less dramatically simplifies life and reduces stress while increasing our ability to be present in the moment. And there are less decisions that need to be made.
How to Handle Clothing Clutter
Fast fashion leads to excessive landfill waste, chemical waste and water waste, and often contains microplastics that further contaminate the ocean. My guide to vintage and second-hand shopping shows why it matters (beyond just the style vibes) in reducing your toxic fashion footprint.
How to Handle Toy Clutter
We were warned before having a child to watch out – the toys and gear would take over our home. I am proud to say that so far we’ve escaped this toynado effect. (I coined that term myself – perfect, right?!)
How to Deal With Kitchen Clutter
Kitchen disposables, as well as cheap cookware and gadgets, can clutter up our kitchens. In addition to the tips I share below for reducing kitchen disposables, you’ll also want to check out How to Detox Your Kitchen and this Guide to Healthy Cookware (because buying good, long-lasting stuff is worth it!)
Guides to Home Cleaning
A big part of maintaining a clutter-free home is keeping it clean, without buying a ton of toxic cleaning products that add to your clutter. The guides below can help advise what to clean with safely.
The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Home Cleaning
10 Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Recipes
Want More Tips for Creating a Healthy Home?
If you’re ready for a deep dive into creating a healthy home, Healthy At Home is a self-paced online course that focuses on the small changes we can make to our homes that make a big difference. Learn more and sign up for instant access here.
Establishing a clutter-free, organized home can seem daunting, but the benefits are well worth it. Start with one thing, and then move on to another, and then another. Once the bulk of decluttering is done, it’s more about a simple maintenance routine that will be less work and, more importantly, allows you to enjoy your home much more!
Home photos courtesy of The Print Market