Three Benefits of Decluttering
People start the journey of decluttering for many reasons. It could be that they are downsizing, and it is time to clear out years of accumulated things. It could be the loss of a loved one that begins the process. Maybe it is on a milestone birthday when we start to think about what we want to leave behind.
Whatever the reason, in this post I will share tips and benefits of decluttering and how the process could be a gift to the next generation.
Cultivate Peace of Mind through an Uncluttered Space
When our physical surroundings are cluttered and disorganized, it can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. According to Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D, “Clutter creates chaos, which impacts your ability to focus. It also limits your brain’s capacity to process information. Clutter is a form of visual distraction, which increases cognitive overload and can reduce working memory. If your space is unorganized and filled with clutter it can be difficult to focus or concentrate. Research has shown that people are less irritable, less distracted, more productive, and better able to process information with an uncluttered and organized work area or home.”
By decluttering, we create a peaceful and calming environment, free from the distractions and chaos that clutter brings. Here are some key takeaways to help you achieve this:
- Start Small: On the podcast, Nicki Davidson Jones suggests beginning with clothing as it is often the least emotionally charged category. Sort through your wardrobe, keeping only items that you love and that make you feel good. Consider donating or selling the rest.
- Let go of sentimental items: Take a picture of sentimental clothing or objects that you no longer use or need. Ask yourself, “does letting go of the thing, mean that the memory is gone?” “Is the sentiment still in your heart?” “Would giving it away bring someone else joy?” By answering these questions, you may more easily release the physical item while still cherishing the sentiment behind it.
- Embrace the “snowball” effect: Once you begin decluttering one area, you’ll likely start to feel the positive impact it has on your mental state. Allow this momentum to carry you forward and declutter other areas of your life, such as the kitchen, office, or bedroom.
Create Space for Meaningful Experiences and Relationships
An uncluttered home not only provides physical space, but it also creates room for more meaningful experiences and connections with loved ones. I loved how Nicki Davidson Jones put it.
“Choose to have experiences rather than things. Choose to have relationships rather than things.” Of course, you can have experiences, relationships and things, but I think this puts a different perspective on the space that is created by clearing out.
Here are three actionable tips to help you create the space you might want:
- Be deliberate and intentional: Use Marie Kondo’s method of gathering similar items together and determining what truly brings you joy or serves a purpose. This approach can be applied to various aspects of your life, guiding you to keep what’s truly necessary and let go of what no longer serves you.
- Consider WHY you are decluttering: Are you getting ready to sell your home? Is it time to let go of things you don’t want your children or relatives to have to deal with after you are gone? Maybe you have some things of value to sell. Knowing your WHY for decluttering will help with your motivation.
- Consider asking for help: Many times, decluttering has a lot of grief associated with it. When you are trying to decide about the belongings of a spouse or parent who has passed, the grief can be overwhelming. Asking for help is about self-care. There are professional organizers you can reach out to. Asking for help from friends and family is sometimes a good idea. And when you feel overwhelmed, give yourself grace. Decluttering takes time. It is not usually something you do all at once.
Leave a Lasting Generational Gift
Decluttering is not simply about tidying up our own lives; it is an opportunity to leave a generational gift for our loved ones. Consider these tips to create a lasting legacy:
- Embrace the idea of death cleaning: Explore the memoir “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson. The book offers insights into the Swedish practice of preparing for one’s later years, ensuring that what we leave behind brings joy and meaning to our loved ones.
- Reflect on what your relatives might want: Have a discussion with your children, grandchildren or other relatives about what they might want after you are gone. Sometimes, our relatives do not want any of our things. Get ok with that. It gives you the freedom to do whatever your want with the items in your home. If certain items truly hold great meaning for your children or grandchildren, give them to them now. You can watch them enjoying the items while you are still here.
- Celebrate life’s moments and embrace change: Nicki is a big fan of Schitt’s Creek. One of her takeaways from that show is that life can change in an instant. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past and create a home that supports your current needs and dreams.
Decluttering goes beyond just tidying up our physical spaces. It cultivates peace of mind, creates space for meaningful experiences and relationships, and leaves behind a generational gift for our loved ones.
Check out Marie Kondo’s books along with the Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning for more inspiration. Reach out to Nicki Davidson Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some help.
And remember, you can listen to the full episode of “Hey, Boomer!” for more insights and inspiration. Happy decluttering!