5 lesser known benefits of home decluttering
Updated: Aug 24
At first glance, it may appear that the home decluttering movement sprung out of nowhere. The impact of organised space on our wellbeing, however, has been known and applied to human lives for centuries. Whether through Feng Shui, a spring clean or the well-loved ōsōji (a Japanese cleaning ritual), there is a long standing tradition of periodically clearing out our places of residence and allowing for the good energy to flow.
Modern research further validates this continuous strive to stay on top of our accumulating belongings. Among other findings, there is proof that physical order produces healthy choices, generosity and conventionality. The cleanliness of the surrounding environment can also foster better sleep, reduce stress, improve relationships, and increase productivity.
With the research findings consistently proving the bountiful benefits of living in an organised space, one can be forgiven for wondering why the sudden surge in the decluttering trend. Well, the COVID-19 pandemic might be the answer.
The year 2020 has been peppered with lockdowns, restrictions, WFH and a lot of uncertainty. Many of us spent more time at home than we could have ever imagined. While it was hard not to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, our homes remained the one thing that we had full control over. As we culled, cleaned and categorised, our stress and anxiety levels decreased. Decluttering the space around us made us feel accomplished, satisfied and at peace.
With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, it’s important to ensure that our living spaces continue to serve our mental and physical wellbeing. And while it’s hard to flick through Netflix without stumbling across yet another home edit show, the organising craze is not just a fad.
To help you get your cleaning mojo back, below are 5 lesser known scientifically proven benefits of sorting out your house. And the best part? Consider the gratification instant!
1. Renewed sense of confidence and self-efficacy
Decluttering your home can make you feel capable of achieving goals. As you decide what to keep, trash or donate, you utilise decision-making skills and feel confident about completing a challenge. You are also fostering creativity by solving practical riddles - how to store items most effectively? How to make the most of the available space? Once you’ve cleaned up your surroundings, you may surprise yourself with the renewed desire to further improve your living environment, be it by accessorising or decorating.
2. Improved focus and attention span
Being constantly reminded of the amount of accumulated clutter depletes our cognitive resources and reduces our ability to focus. It’s only natural that our mind wanders away from the conversation or chore when faced with disorder. Cluttered spaces further affect our capability to concentrate and reduce our ability to process information. A good sort out will see your concentration levels go through the roof.
3. Fewer mistakes
A messy environment could be detrimental to the accuracy of people whose work is usually diligent and thorough. Researchers found that conscientious people commit more errors in a messy environment than in a tidy environment. By organising your living and working space, you can limit the number of distractions and give the task at hand your best shot.
4. Better food choices
Scientists have been looking into the relationship between clutter and overconsumption and established that a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices. While clutter cannot be mistaken for carbs, a 2013 study showed that participants in an orderly room choose healthier snack options than participants in a disorderly room. Organising your home will make you less likely to overeat or reach for unhealthy foods. And while you are at it, give that kitchen pantry some extra attention!
5. Less procrastination, more promptitude
A 2017 study showed that clutter was the best predictor of procrastination. If you are overwhelmed by your possessions and feel that your personal life is negatively impacted by too much ‘stuff’, desperately declutter! Editing through your belongings will introduce the much needed mental room for prompt action in your life.
Living in a junk-free, well assembled home is now not only normal, but actually on trend. If more people can have their life transformed through the simple act of tidying up, it’s high time the message travelled far and wide!