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Ever find yourself unintentionally, frantically cleaning your home when you should have been working on an important school or work assignment? Yeah, I’ve been there too. Deep cleaning my house became my pre-homework ritual during college. According to Marie Kondo, the best-selling expert on decluttering, this is a normal habit for many people. It’s hard to sit down to focus on something when your entire home resembles the wreckage of a hurricane.
Tidying your home on the surface (i.e. just putting things in drawers so they’re out of sight) seems like the answer, but truly decluttering your space is where the magic happens. A decluttered home offers many benefits, and they go far beyond being able to walk without stubbing a toe.
1. Less Time-Wasting Distraction
You focus better when your space is tidy. Once your space is messy, you can’t concentrate. When you have a home overflowing with possessions, the mess just lies in wait until you drop your guard. Then it comes sneaking back.
Decluttering eliminates this threat and allows you to stay focused at all times. When there’s less noise (a.k.a. stuff) around you every day then you can more easily and efficiently complete tasks through the day. You’ll probably still feel the overwhelming need to transfer dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher before you sit down to work on something, but it won’t be the same time-consuming overhaul you’re used to.
2. You’ll Be Less Anxious
You might not even realize that the clutter in your home is giving you anxiety, but if you think about it for a second you’ll remember how irritated and disgruntled you become each time the Tupperware falls out of the cabinet, you have to use your whole body to push clothes aside on the rack, and you can’t find your favorite lipstick in your bursting makeup bag. It drives you crazy on a daily basis, but it seems normal, so you don’t notice the negative emotions you carry around all day.
Once those extra possessions are out of your home and your life, you’ll feel lighter and happier as you go through your daily motions. Imagine the tranquility you’ll experience when nothing falls out of the cabinet, when you can easily pull a shirt out of your closet, and when your favorite lipstick is in plain sight. Sounds like a dream, right?
3. Easy Clean Up
Less clutter means you have less to clean up. Tossing the clothes you hate means less laundry and more room for clothes you actually want to wear. Fewer magazines stacked around your living room means fewer annoying glossy pages to dust and re-stack.
Most often, a decluttered home leads to subconscious cleaning. Meaning that you begin to naturally put items back in their designated places once you’re done with them rather than leave things lying around simply because there’s already a mess. When there’s less for you to tidy up every day you have more time to do other things, like pursue a hobby or visit with a friend.
4. Clear Intentions and Purpose
When your drawers, cabinets, and shelves are free of junk, the entire space has a chance to serve a real purpose. You’ll be able to designate actual jobs to the parts of your home and stick to those. This gives your whole life a clearer feeling of intention so all of your actions are productive and useful.
A large part of this is having space for the things you love. For instance, clearing out stacks of books that you’ve kept for school from a corner opens up space for you to place your easel and paints. Less clutter equals more genuine joy.
5. Know What You Really Need
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from decluttering, it’s that having fewer things you don’t want or need points out the items that you actually lack. It’s practically impossible to realize what you need in your kitchen, closet, or toolbox when every space is crammed full.
Take the time to toss the clothes you don’t wear or like, and then you’ll be able to spot the holes in your wardrobe. Clean out the books you never read, and you’ll be able to recognize the genres you actually like to read. Go through your kitchenware, and you’ll have room to see whether you lack enough quality knives. You can’t expect to notice these holes if there’s so much junk you can’t function.
6. Never Misplace Anything
Once you’ve decluttered and organized your space, you can say sayonara to losing stuff ever again. You won’t need to search for notebooks, necklaces, or pens on a daily basis because there won’t be any clutter to obscure them. It might not seem like you spend an exorbitant amount of time searching for things each day, but you probably do, at least on a small scale. And searching a few minutes for multiple items all day long adds up to an unfortunate number of wasted minutes. Luckily, eliminating the clutter in your home eliminates this sly time-robbery. You can’t lose your keys if your kitchen counters are clear of books, papers, and loose trash.
Skeptical decluttering can change your life this dramatically? Give it a shot and see for yourself. I have a sneaky suspicion you’ll be moved by how much lighter your life feels and how much happier you are.