You don’t have to go all Marie Kondo and drastically limit your possessions, but there are health benefits to decluttering your living space. Kondo’s books and popular Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” focus on keeping items that “spark joy” and then donating, discarding, or giving away the rest.
Marie Kondo recommends starting with categories, such as doing all the clothing at one time. However, if there are others in your home and sorting all the clothing would be a daunting task to start with, begin with just one closet. Or if you choose to start in the kitchen, tell yourself you will do one kitchen cabinet. You’ll be surprised how starting small can spark the momentum to continue to other cabinets. Before you know it, your entire kitchen will be finished!
In addition to getting your possessions under control, there are also health benefits to decluttering—from less stress and alleviating anxiety and depression to better sleep, fewer allergens, a happier environment, and even getting exercise during the actual decluttering process.
- Less stress—When your home is cluttered, too much sensory information can impact your mental health. Clutter can increase anxiety or depression, cause you to feel overwhelmed and irritable, or even less willing to entertain guests in your home. Decluttering even one space and then spending time there to enjoy it lessens your overall anxiety.
- Improved sleep—By going to bed with piles of clothes scattered about and stacks of possessions or even paperwork, you may not be able to sleep as easily as if your bedroom was decluttered and neat. It’s also recommended that you not use a corner of your bedroom as home office space, if possible. This lessens the anxiety of seeing your work waiting for you as you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up.
- Fewer allergens—It may not be easy to talk your child into letting some of their stuffed animals go, but at least washing them in hot water removes pet dander and dust mites. Washing the household bedding frequently in hot water also removes allergens, leading to fewer allergy symptoms.
- Happy environment— Your creativity and concentration increase when you’re not surrounded by clutter. When you’re surrounded by too many things, the sheer numbers demand your attention and decrease your productivity. If you’re working from home, you’re giving yourself a big bonus by removing clutter!
- Move it!—When you tackle spring cleaning and decluttering, think of all the exercise you get when you bend, reach, carry, and move all the items you are sorting and packing! Find boxes at your local grocery store or stuff garbage bags with clothing items to donate or give away.
If you choose to have a garage sale to help disperse your excess stuff, don’t bring the leftovers back into the house at the end of the sale. Pack them up immediately and put them in your car to donate. And at the end of the day (or days!), your muscles may ache, but your mind will thank you when you finally sit back and enjoy your new, less-cluttered environment.
For more, read 3 Helpful Tools to Regain Your Mental Health Balance and/or 6 Ways a Hobby Can Boost Your Health.