It is just tidying up, what difference can it possibly make?
You think of the standard benefits:
- Saving time looking for things and tidying up
- Saving money buying duplicates or items going to waste because you forgot to they were there.
- Giving more space (literally) by getting rid of some stuff
- Giving more calm by being in a space that you are happy in. We have all heard the saying calm the chaos.
You don’t usually think that decluttering and organising your space can give you the confidence to go for a new job or the motivation to start that new fitness challenge you usually put off. The mental freedom to take on that side hustle or removing the block to socialise with friends because you felt judged and embarrassed. All helping your mental health along the way too.
It doesn’t sound right does it. It sounds like something along the lines of “journal every morning and all your dreams will magically come true” (which of course alone is not going to happen, you have to take action- but I digress). The thing is though, it is true. Those unseen benefits are a direct result, backed up by research, of decluttering and organising your home. You almost have no choice to be a happier, lighter, more motivated and confident version of you if you get it right.
(I do want to add – I am not claiming it is the only thing that will make everything magically better but I am trying to highlight just how powerful it can be)
You will see on any of my social media accounts that instead of focussing on the before and after photos, I focus on the before and after of the client themselves. How they feel, what they have achieved and the differences they feel. It is often way more powerful, impactful and makes me happier than any colour coded shelf can be.
Here are some very real ways that decluttering and organising can change more than just the physical space around you:
Did you know that studies have shown that those who live in a cluttered home have higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) running through them as opposed to someone who lives clutter free. Of course clutter is subjective but you know when you feel like your home is cluttered or not and the claustrophobia that comes with that.
As you may well be aware, stress manifests itself both physically and mentally. If we are tipping over from a normal level of day to day stress to something more damaging it can start to effect our mood, our sleep, our physical health, our mental health. Everything.
Studies have also shown that those living in a clutter free home sleep better than those in a cluttered environment but I truly believe this is down to those stress levels. You know if you are perhaps stressed at work and on a tight deadline it can effect your sleep and I think clutter is the same, no matter how subconscious this may be.
It does make sense though. Imagine the last thing you see is a huge pile of stuff in no order and taking over your room. It doesn’t sound very conducive to a good nights sleep. Now imagine clear surfaces, a clear bed, a clear floor and just the things you need around you. It feels more peaceful straight away. Even if you do manage a good nights sleep surrounded by clutter, waking up to chaos isn’t going to set up your day right either. Starting out with those stress levels high is only going to make you less likely to be able to tackle other stressors in your day.
So not only is clutter causing you to not be able to handle day to day stressors in your life but it is causing less sleep. Less sleep will cause a lower mood, less productivity, less focus, less motivation and quite simply less energy to do much else than what we absolutely have to get done. If you could organise your bedroom and have it as a completely serene, calming space, would this make a difference to your sleep? Would this make a difference to your stress levels? What would more sleep and less stress mean you could have the mental capacity to tackle that you currently just don’t have the ability to do?
Productivity and focus
I briefly touched on more sleep improving your productivity and focus but that isn’t why this point is here. I’m not going to tell you more research about sleep and clutter. It is one of the contributing factors to lower productivity and focus but there is more.
Our brains are constantly filtering out everything within our eyeline. Even if we aren’t aware we can even see it. For instance, whilst I type this blog, I am concentrating on my laptop but my brain is filtering out the sofa to my left, the giant lampshade in the corner of my eye and the bookshelf in front of me.
We need to go back to our caveman times to make this make sense. Back then, it was essential for our brains to be continuously, without exception, scan our environment for threats. To help us pick up when something isn’t right or if a bear is on it’s way to eat us.
Our brains however haven’t caught up that they don’t need to be on such high alert all the time. So at any given second in the day our brain chooses to do two things with that information. Filter it out to our subconscious or draw our attention to it if it could be a threat.
So in short, the more cluttered our environment, the more work our brain has to do to filter out the non-urgent and distract us with shiny things that catch our eye that our brain wants us to decide is a threat or not at a conscious level. We only have a finite amount of decisions we can make in a day so the more our brain has to filter out, the more tired it gets and the more it draws to our attention, the more we are distracted from the task at hand. It is why you tend to concentrate less if you suddenly start working in a new location.
I wrote a full blog on this topic alone that you can read here if you would like to know more. This topic fascinates me so can talk about it all day.
To summarise, the less clutter you have, the more productive and focussed you are. If you could guarantee a bit more of this in your life, what would you be working towards. What goal would you have? Would it make a difference to you?
This is one of my favourite side effects to decluttering and organising your time. There is no hard science or research other than watching client after client experience the same thing. They start overwhelmed in the space, they don’t know where to start and truly believe their project will be the one to stop me.
Once they have worked in whatever area it is in their home and start seeing a difference in what they have achieved it is hugely motivating. Instantly, their confidence rises. They did manage to do it in the end, it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it might and wow look how much you can get done in a short amount of time.
What then happens is this confidence to be able to see a project through, to break down a plan that perhaps felt overwhelming before and see it through gives so many people the bug to tackle their next project or work towards their next Goa.
It is one of those amazing by-products of decluttering that never gets old and is probably one of my favourite benefits yet.
Time to do what matters most
I know, I know, we said this was one of the obvious benefits. It is one that I won’t spend much time on here but it is important to realise the impact a few seconds saved here and there will have on other areas of your life.
You probably don’t notice it takes you 30 seconds to find the chopped tomatoes when your cupboard is all messed up and only 5 seconds when it is tidy. Why would you. However, you start adding up those saved seconds over the course of a day/ week or month and all of a sudden you have whole windows of time you didn’t have before, just by creating homes for everything and making it quicker to find and put away.
I always ask clients what they will do with their extra time and I love that some use to relax, some use it to workout, some use it to build businesses.
However, there is no denying by magically creating more time in your day without even noticing can be life changing for someone on the brink of giving up on everything because it all feels too much to fit into their 24 hours.
There are so many other ways decluttering and organising can have a huge impact on your whole life and not just your home.
It is one of those things though, until you have seen both sides of the coin, you can’t appreciate it is true.
Those of you living in a home that feels chaotic, overwhelming and stressful can’t imagine how it can help in this way and those of you find keeping an organised and clutter free home simple to do can’t see how your life is already saving you time and giving back to other areas in your life, until it isn’t, unless you experience what it feels like to not have a home that works for you.
I wish I could pocket up the feeling that oozes off my clients and share it with you as words just don’t do it justice. You have to experience it to believe it. However, I am firmly in the camp of believing an organised home can be life changing. If it is organised with your family in mind, your goals and the way you live day to day, it can transform everything. Cliche or not, I have seen the results. It is true.
Can you resonate? Either way? Has it got you thinking about how less stress, more productivity, confidence, focus, sleep etc could help you in other areas of your life?
It isn’t as simple as decluttering and organising your home causing overnight success everywhere else in your life but it is eliminating one of our stressors, one of the things we spend a lot of time on or making your life just that little bit easier. It is amazing what that then frees up for us.