Ever looked around yourself and felt a wave of stress and anxiety about all the ‘stuff’ around you?
And then – mentally exhausted, or defeated?
Well, truth is that there is an undeniable link between ‘clutter’ and your state of mind. Specifically, the obvious connection between feeling ‘stressed’ when your environment appears to have spun out of control.
Definition of clutter
‘Clutter’ is defined as “an overabundance of possessions that collectively create chaotic and disorderly living spaces”.
In our busy lives, we are often just a few stacks away from a chaotic living space being a trigger for stress. And – it also threatens to impact adversely on our own productivity, our health and our relationships.
Clutter and cortisol
Clutter can trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which is directly linked to stress and anxiety. In turn, it is also likely to feed into unhealthy habits. Studies have shown that decluttering lead to better sleep, better diets and overall, better health.
Tips for dealing with clutter
The truth is also that, what is clutter for one person, is a treasure for another. The golden rule of dealing with those possessions that accumulated in your home and office, remains this one: Does this item still serve a purpose? And yes, it could be an emotional purpose. There is, after all, an understanding that some possessions (such as photos, heirlooms or gifts) may very well hold important memories. However, getting rid of it is a process of taking responsibility for decisions. Choosing wisely for the sake of the present and the future – and gently letting go of the past.
Townley Ewer, the writer of Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed the Cleaning and Calm the Chaos, writes, “What clutter is, is ducking decisions or refusing to make them…”. You may find yourself trapped in a cycle of indecision, procrastination and guilt in an attempt to avoid the effort or emotional pain of dealing with clutter.
If only to reduce our stress levels, and give us peace of mind, it is worth it to tackle a suffocating house or office. One of the easiest ways to deal with clutter is to devote the first 15 minutes of your day to reduce clutter, Then – ‘toss’ some items into the bin or donation box.
Another important tip: Handle any item only once.
By DORETTE DU PREZ
– Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed the Cleaning and Calm the Chaos?