Another day’s finally over, and you’re home.
You just want to sit on the couch, turn on Netflix, and have the evening to yourself.
But the sink’s full of dishes. The table’s stacked with mail. You have stuff that collects in various places that never seem to get used.
It’s a struggle keeping on top of the house work. It feels like extra things to do on top of everything else happening today.
If you only had a magic wand you could wave to put everything away in a flash. You’re definitely too tired to do it now.
Maybe this weekend. You’ll have more time then.
Well, that’s what you said last weekend, right? And the weekend before that.
Or you might have cleaned up a bit before, and it felt easier just to give up. It’s not like the clutter’s so bad anyway.
But what if I tell you decluttering can change your life for the better? And I’m not only talking about having more space.
Here are 5 great things that naturally happened when I decluttered (that can happen for you too!)
5 EXTRA BENEFITS OF BANISHING CLUTTER
1. YOU GET HEALTHIER.
You saw the photos of my home when I brought my hoarding habit out of the closet, right? So imagine those stuff piled up around the house without anyone digging through them for months.
They just sat there, day in and day out.
Can you guess what happened when I started tackling them this year?
I found stuff I hadn’t remembered I owned, sure. I also found clouds of dust, dead cockroaches, and other dried-up insect husks.
I know. Ewwww.
I have chronic allergies, and about once a week, I’d wear a surgical mask to bed when I couldn’t stop sneezing. My place is regularly vacuumed, dusted, and swept, so why was this happening?
This was why, evidently.
But wait a minute! you say. My clutter’s not like that at all. There’s nothing in there that would attract bugs and I tidy up regularly!
Well, WebMD says differently. According to them, dust, mold, and animal hair pile up when you have clutter. These are bad for conditions like allergy and asthma.
So decluttering made me healthier, and it’ll make you healthier too.
2. YOUR HOME IS SAFER.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, it took more than 300 firefighters to put out an apartment fire in Toronto a few years back.
“I REMEMBER SAYING, ‘WHEN IS THIS GOING TO GO OUT?’,” RECALLED TORONTO FIRE CHIEF WILLIAM STEWART, WHO HAD ANTICIPATED A ROUTINE APARTMENT FIRE, NOT A SIX-ALARM INFERNO.
They later realized the apartment belonged to a hoarder. All the papers and stuff he had kept over the years became fuel that turned a small fire into a monster “tunnel of hell”.
In fact, an Australian study found fires related to hoarding are more complicated to put out than regular house fires. Aside from creating more fuel for the fire to grow, all that stuff also blocks exits people could pass. This means people who live there have more trouble escaping while firefighters find it harder to get in.
Your extra stuff doesn’t immediately mean a fire, but it increases the risk of one and makes it bigger when the fire has already started.
Aside from being a fire hazard, clutter can also lead to people tripping and getting hurt. The same Australian study mentions 38% of hoarders find falling is a direct effect of their clutter.
I can agree with that: I’ve tripped and fallen over my stuff loads of times.
All this info shows us clutter is a safety hazard. Getting rid of it means you’ll be living in a safer home.
3. YOU SAVE MONEY.
Did you know clutter costs you cash?
“LATE FEES, BANK FEES, TAX PENALTIES, MISPLACED CHECKS, LOST CASH, LOST OR EXPIRED GIFT CARDS, MISSED APPOINTMENTS AND CANCELLATION FEES, AND THE COST OF ITEMS YOU MEANT TO RETURN BUT NEVER DID ARE JUST SOME OF THE WAYS BEING DISORGANIZED ERODES YOUR BUDGET,” SAYS NEW YORK-BASED ORGANIZER ANGELA KANTARELLIS.
And she’s right, from my experience.
I’ve felt sheepish after finding expired gift certificates and stuff I planned to return during my clean-up.
There was also that Christmas I had to buy my nephew’s present again after I buried it in one of the piles at home. I spent twice the amount for one present, and I’ve done the same for other things I own too.
And that decluttering party I had with friends last month?
“More money in this bag,” one of them announced. “Didn’t I just find some in that other one?”
A few dollars in this pocket and that drawer can add up. Professional organizer Lorie Marrero once found $5000 in cash and undeposited checks in a customer’s home!
Storing your stuff also costs money. The Self Storage Association says Americans paid more than $24 billion in storage units in 2014. Not to mention the rent and electricity bills you might be paying for extra space.
Banish your clutter, and you’ll find you’re saving money as a result.
I sure did.
4. YOU STOP LOSING THINGS.
Some of you may remember I lost my weird earring (here’s a picture if you’re curious!) last February. I’m happy to say I did find it last month, and I’ve worn it lots of times since then.
But that earring’s not the only thing I’ve lost in my mess. House keys, ID cards, and so on… I was forever losing things.
When I was in school, I remember turning back home three times because I’d misplaced things I needed to take with me!
I learned to laugh at how I always seemed to have these things happen to me. But there was stress too: when losing things meant being late to appointments or missing deadlines.
I didn’t like how that felt, and if you’ve experienced the same, I’m sure you don’t either.
Cleaning up has meant finding things has become so much easier.
Like I’m on call 24 hours a day for my sales job these days. That means I sometimes fly to a different part of the world at the drop of a hat.
“When do you have time to pack?” a friend asked last week.
Heh, I don’t really have the time, and it can be stressful. *cue throwing things on my bed like a deranged person* But since I’ve started decluttering, I find it doesn’t take as long as it used to.
I know where most everything is and spend less time looking for stuff I need.
It’s a freeing feeling I hope you experience too.
5. YOU GAIN ENERGY.
One No Mess Monday, I wrote about how focus and decluttering go hand-in-hand. In that post, I mentioned how science says clutter drains your focus and energy.
Remember how we pictured walking through your home at the end of a long day at the beginning of this post?
That felt tiring, right? Draining, even.
But imagine the opposite. You get home and put your things exactly where they’re supposed to be. You make yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, if you like!) without having to wash out any mugs, and you sit on your couch without having to move stuff that’s on it somewhere else.
Without that tiring feeling, you don’t feel so drained. You have more energy to do things you want to do.
My friend Jennifer describes it well when she talks about how minimalism changed her life.
BEFORE MINIMALISM, MY HOME LEFT ME FEELING EXHAUSTED, LIKE I WAS CARRYING A HEAVY WEIGHT ON MY SHOULDERS – BUT NOW THINGS HAVE COMPLETELY TURNED AROUND. …KNOWING THAT MINE IS A SOURCE OF ENERGY (INSTEAD OF A DRAIN) HAS DRAMATICALLY CHANGED HOW I FEEL IN MY DAY-TO-DAY LIFE.
You can feel better and increase your energy in the same way just by cleaning your clutter.
DECLUTTERING CAN LEAD TO GOOD THINGS, RIGHT?
Feeling healthier and less stressed, living in a safer home, saving money, and having more energy…
Isn’t it great how decluttering can naturally make all these things happen in your life?
But they won’t happen if you just read them and move on to the next thing calling your attention.
And that missed chance would be a sad thing.
So take action.
Pick out a hack I wrote out for you if you don’t know where to start with your clutter. Try it in a part of your home today.
Promise yourself that you will start. Remind yourself of the benefits I just mentioned when you feel like decluttering your space is too hard.
Because I won’t lie: it is hard. It’ll take time and mean facing the decisions that lead you to keeping all this stuff you don’t use or need.
But if I can do it, you can too. And you’ll truly feel all the better for it.
I’m cheering you on, friend.
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