We all love our possessions and sometimes throwing things out can feel like a real hassle to fit around everyday life, but the benefits can potentially be huge.
Like most things in life, there’s no quick fix when it comes to sorting things out in the house, but if you put aside a manageable amount of time a week (even an hour on Sunday evening) you’ll soon start to see the benefits.
January can be a great time to do it because it’s a bit miserable outside. A lot of us need to save money post-Christmas, too, and it sets a model to stick to for the rest of the year as best as you can.
We picked three reasons why a big tidy is great for your health, mind and more below:
The house looks nicer and is easier to live in
It may seem like a no-brainer that donating or throwing things out that may be lingering from Christmas can lead to the house looking nicer, but it can also make everyday life easier. An added perk is you will know what’s where and won’t be going through a bunch of stuff in different rooms to find that one possession you’re often looking for (but can never find!)
Sometimes you may not want to have that friend over for a cup of tea or family members over to visit if you feel the house is in bit of a state, so the actual impact can be far-reaching (this links back to no. 3 too!)
You keep yourself and your possessions safe
This may seem like an obvious one, but it can go beyond ‘Oops, I just tripped over that box of stuff’ moments into actually putting yourself in danger if a fire were to break out. Firefighters say they are increasingly concerned about the role clutter can play in serious fires .
And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll feel better!
You start and finish your day in your room, and spend a significant amount of times in other spaces, and how these spaces look and feel to us has a big impact on our happiness. Even though you may not directly feel it, an untidy space makes us feel stressed and distracted.
And studies back this up, too – showing that tidying and organising your home can also massively help your mind and how you feel about your life. One such study, published in 2016, found that the more clutter people have, the lower their life satisfaction – and their productivity . Others have found that those with cluttered bedrooms in particular take longer to fall asleep and have lower quality of sleep than those who don’t.
Sorting out rooms or a certain space can also help you take this tidiness you have at home into other parts of life. Additionally, everyone in the house can reap the benefits by having more space to enjoy and use.
It’s better for your overall health too, as less bacteria and viruses that could potentially affect you will be lurking around.
Living rooms are very personal spaces, but it’s good to start with what you have a lot of (whether that’s books, electronics or the random little things we collect in life). “A cluttered living room stops you from enjoying the space, whether it’s that you can’t find a book or game (etc.) because of all the other things around,” says one professional organiser.
Don’t tackle the whole kitchen at once. Start by organising a few kitchen drawers, then move on from there – you’ll find that even organising one messy drawer provides a great sense of satisfaction. Then look to your fridge and storage – group things as best you can so you can make best use of spaces and clear out the things may be expired that you’ve never got round to throwing away.
A big way to declutter a bedroom for most us will be overhauling your closet. Those old clothes you don’t wear anymore (and never will) or aren’t the right size could find a happy home by being donated or sold (e.g. on eBay or similar). This will have the added benefits of giving you more space, spending less time in the morning rummaging for what you want and help you mentally. A good mantra when looking at your closet is “Only put in it clothes you are wearing now.”
Start off by ditching products, like bottles of shampoo or make up, that you don’t use or have never used (if they’re brand new, your local Hygiene Bank could be a great new home for them). Next, work out how you want to set up the bathroom. Begin by making sure the things you use every day (e.g. toothpaste and face wash), should be easy to reach, and then make sure you’re making the best us of trays, under-sink shelves and any other organisers you may have to give things a set place to ‘live’ in the room. Overall, this will make life easier and less stressful as your morning and evening routine can run like clockwork – allowing you to put energy into more important things.
Have a good look at the toys currently in the playroom and throw way any that the kids have outgrown or are bored with, donating what is still in good condition to the charity shop… it’s best to do this when they’re not around!
If you or someone you know may have a serious issue with clutter and keeping possessions, please do let know your local housing officer here at TCHG know so we can offer you judgement-free advice and support. Local specialist charities like Mind can also offer a helping hand.