We’re sure it’s no surprise to you that decluttering is highly beneficial. Not just for your house, but for your psychological and spiritual wellbeing too. That’s why we’re big fans of the annual spring clean here at H & H.
This Wednesday we’re hosting a decluttering workshop at Howard’s Storage World in Fortitude Valley so our queen of decluttering, Karen Hutton, can pass on her wisdom to us. Karen will be condensing her lifetime of knowledge into her favourite tips for culling your junk.
After you’ve learned how to let go of the useless stuff in your life, the friendly folks at Howard’s Storage World will be teaching us how to organise the things we keep.
So, even though we know decluttering is amazing, we’re going to look at the reasons why it’s such a good idea to get rid of old stuff. We’re also going to add a 10-minute decluttering tip you can do immediately to make your space feel cleaner and less cluttered.
It reduces anxiety
This is the most obvious reason people declutter their lives. Having too much stuff around you (especially stuff you no longer want or need) is overwhelming. When you’ve had a stressful day at work, the last thing you want is a sensory overload because you have stuff everywhere.
Our brains are evolutionarily wired to prefer symmetry and simplicity. Symmetry and order in nature are signs of health and prosperity. Any asymmetry in nature is often a sign of danger or illness, so we naturally feel safer and calmer when our environments are clear of clutter.
Our 10-minute tip: Take a moment to look at your kitchen counter. This is a hotspot for accumulating clutter such as keys, bags, mail, dishes, food, and paperwork. A clean kitchen bench will make you feel more relaxed. Limit the things on your benchtop to a fruit bowl, essential appliances like a microwave and jug, and perhaps a practical plant such as rosemary or sage.
Decluttering could make you some extra cash
While the majority of your stuff will go charity, there are some items you can sell online for a quick buck! For example, old electronics such as phones, laptops, and cameras are a potential goldmine. All you’ve got to do is wipe them, return them to factory settings and list them for sale.
There are always people looking to buy old gadgets on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Gumtree. However, before listing make sure you research how much other people are asking for the same item. After all, you don’t want to overprice your stuff and prevent it from selling. You also don’t want to undercut yourself when you could’ve made more!
Our 10-minute tip: In every house, there’s a drawer. You know the one. You’re thinking about it right now. The drawer with the digital camera you haven’t used since your cruise holiday to Vanuatu in 2008. In it, you’ll find the Nintendo DS you bought to play Nintendogs and haven’t turned on in a decade. The drawer with the iPod shuffle you used before the days where phones and music players were one and the same. Go on, open that drawer and list that stuff online. It’s time.
Organising your life will make you smarter
Okay, hear us out on this one. When Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, he was working a ‘menial’ job at a Swiss Patents Office. The act of going through people’s patent applications, approving, and filing documents activated the part of his brain that allows higher thinking.
This was kind of addressed in an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ where Sheldon got a job as a busboy in a restaurant to help him solve a difficult academic problem. I say ‘kind of addressed’ instead of addressed because the show made out that the mediocrity of the job was the reason Sheldon solved the problem.
In reality, people who work menial jobs are already stimulating the part of their brain that opens them up to creative problem-solving. However, because complex problem solving isn’t required, their mind is left to wander. The creates the perfect situation for genius solutions and concepts, like the theory of relativity!
Decluttering is the perfect example of a task that will allow this process to occur. When you’re sorting through your stuff and organising it all neatly, your creative juices will be flowing. You’re far more likely to come up with some brilliant ideas thinking and decluttering at the same time rather than sitting at a desk staring at the wall.
Our 10-minute tip: If you’re hitting a mental block, take a few minutes to clean out your desk. Get rid of old papers, throw out any rubbish, organise your stationery, and dust your workspace. If you’re still struggling to get past that wall after you’ve had a bit of a tidy up, look at what you can do to create inspiration in your workspace. Put some greenery on the desk, put up a couple of nice pictures, and perhaps have a couple of motivational quotes or mantras close at hand.
Your quality of sleep will improve
REM sleep is hugely important to feel well-rested. It helps the parts of your brain that are involved in decision-making and memory. While most of your brain shuts down when you sleep, there are parts of your brain that remain active. They scan the area around you for threats and dangers that would’ve existed millions of years ago. While there aren’t many immediate threats anymore, this behaviour has stuck around to protect us.
While a sabre tooth tiger is unlikely to pounce out at you from the closet, clutter can be very distracting for the brain while you’re asleep. If it perceives threats in the clutter or if you’re stressed about the mess, the brain will not enter REM sleep. Even if you give yourself 7-9 hours to rest if your brain doesn’t enter its REM sleep cycle, you’re going to wake up tired.
Our 10-minute tip: Free up space on your bedside table. This is a place where clutter accumulates easily, but should really be sparse. After all, it’s right next to where you sleep! So, get rid of the stack of books and instead just have the one you’re currently reading. The other items that can stay are a lamp, a glass of water, and a candle. Everything else can go in the drawers.
You’ll add value to your home
If you’re looking to sell your house, decluttering the space is an easy way to increase value. First impressions are everything so the way your property is presented is hugely important. Decluttering and putting personal items away will allow potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.
It will also make styling the rooms a whole lot easier. The less clutter there is, the simpler it is to move furniture around to recreate the space. Sometimes, an area of the house you had allocated as an at-home gym may be needed to create a more open-plan living room. A house free of clutter makes this alteration a breeze. It also makes it far easier to establish a colour palette and decorate with a few choice cushions and a throw.
If you’re on struggle street with your home styling, give Hutton & Hutton a call. Our in-house decluttering and styling guru Karen can give you some pointers and transform the space.
Our 10-minute tip: The entryway to the house is the very first impression people have of your home. Stand in the doorway for a moment and critically think about what people are seeing. Your eye will immediately be drawn to the problem areas. If the bookshelf is overcrowded and messy, have a look at getting rid of the books you’ve already read. One style idea that’s trending on Pinterest is turning your books so the spine faces in. The effect is definitely bold, yet oddly calming.