With the ease of online shopping and doorstep delivery, items easily pile up, quickly throwing our homes into disorder. People are looking to declutter, and many are looking to popular tidying books and streaming shows. It’s gained so much popularity that thrift stores report receiving record amounts of donations.
So what is this Japanese art of decluttering? It all comes down to the idea of mottainai, which translates to “don’t be wasteful.” This means to live off of what you need, use the items to their full extent and to pay respect to the items that bring you joy. And it may be doing more for you than just keeping the shelves organized.
According to several studies, decluttering may have positive impacts on your health, such as:
- Potential reduced stress: Clutter may cause stress. According to a study, people living in cluttered homes had higher levels of cortisol– the stress-causing hormone – in their bodies. Another study found women who consider their home stressful due to clutter or unfinished projects rather than restorative had increased depressed mood over the course of the day.
- May experience deeper sleep: This goes hand and hand with reduced stress. Less stress can mean better sleep. A survey conducted for the National Sleep Foundation found those who make their bed in the morning were 19 percent more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep on most days.
- May boost productivity: Clutter may be overstimulating and distracting. According to a Princeton Neuroscience Institute study, the number of items you can see affects your ability to concentrate. Getting rid of clutter may help you work more efficiently, increasing productivity.
- Can lead to healthier eating habits: A study found people with extremely cluttered homes were 77 percent more likely to be overweight. Emotional eating can be triggered by stress. Tidying up your home may reduce your stress levels, which may help you avoid grabbing unhealthy snacks.
With so much clothing, decorations and keepsakes it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Here are some tips to consider:
- Be patient: Clearing out your home is going to take time. Be patient and do a thorough job so it’ll last.
- Pick an area to focus on: Try starting with your kitchen, which is found to be one of the most cluttered spaces in most homes. Get rid of expired condiments or chipped dishes. Then move on to clothing. Keep what’s essential and donate the rest. Make your way through your home, getting rid of things that just take up space and don’t provide a useful purpose.
- Everything needs its own place: Once all items have a designated place, you won’t have to think about it again. Cleaning up will be easier and the clutter will stay away.
- Keep up with decluttering: After your home is organized, keep it that way. Put items back in their places each day, to minimize a potential buildup of clutter.
For more tips on how to get started on decluttering, click here.