For many of us, our home is like a sanctuary; a comfortable and secure place that we can be ourselves in, unwind after a big day at work, or retreat to when life gets a little noisy. However, there’s one thing that can interfere with this feeling – clutter.
The truth is, a clean home is a happy home. On a personal level, clutter can stress you out, harm your diet, trigger respiratory issues, and threaten your safety around the house. On an interpersonal level, it can hurt your relationships with the people you live with.
How do you define clutter?
To answer this question, you need to figure out what items in your home are clutter and which are not. For example, things like unopened mail or books that haven’t been put on a bookshelf are often items without storage – not clutter. It’s simply about finding the right storage solution. However, there are items lying about that definitely need throwing away – such as old newspapers, wrappers or expired foods (AKA trash masquerading as clutter).
Some items can be defined as clutter if you have an abundance of them, you’re holding onto to them for ‘sentimental value’, or you’re only keeping them because they’re ‘trendy’. While there’s nothing wrong with having seemingly useless items around the home, the key is to strike the right balance.
How clutter affects the people we live with
Clutter can have a profound effect on how we operate on a day to day basis. Whether it be your home, your office or your car, a cluttered space is often a reflection of one’s own mind. When you’re feeling stressed, fatigued or anxious it’s easy to leave dishes in the sink unwashed, or a stack of recyclables on the kitchen table instead of in the yellow bin.
Are you worried that the excessive clutter around your home is taking its toll on your relationship or children? You’re not alone. According to the Choosi Clutter Report 2017, clutter affects us in many different ways:
- 44.3% of Australians admit to having had arguments about clutter in their home.
- 56.4% Australians say clutter causes tension between the people they live with at least some of the time.
- 37.1% of Australians say having excess clutter in their household leads to disagreements about congested living space. They also have disagreements about the discarding of possessions (33.4%) or about new purchases (23.6%) due to excess household clutter.
- 27.6% of Australians say they or other members of the household complain about the clutter in their home daily or weekly, while a further one in five (20.8%) say these complaints come on a monthly basis.
The more clutter you have, the more financially and psychologically complicated your life can become. More often than not, the accumulation of clutter means it’s time to implement a change in your lifestyle.
How to get rid of clutter and keep it out of your home
Getting rid of clutter can be an emotional experience, so don’t try and rush it. Instead, start slow and go through one space at a time. To make the process easier, come prepared with garbage bags, cardboard boxes, and questions to ask yourself, such as:
– Is this item actually rubbish?
– Can this item be recycled?
– Am I currently using this item?
– Will I ever use this item?
– Do I even like this item?
– Does this item fit me anymore?
– Does this item have a purpose?
– Is this item getting in the way?
– Is this item expired?
– Is this item having a negative impact on my partner or children?
These questions won’t just help you de-clutter your home – they’ll help you keep it from becoming cluttered in the first place. However, sometimes it’s not that simple. What if you can’t decide what to do with an item? What if you can’t let it go yet? Don’t worry – just put it in a box for a couple of months and see how you feel down the track.
However, if you’re looking for extra incentive to get rid of things, think about selling your items at a garage sale or online, or donating them to charity, friends and family. This way, at least you’ll be making money or ensuring they end up in a good home.
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- How Clutter Can Affect Your Relationships With Those You Live With - March 21, 2018