3 major things I´ve learned in terms of clutter while traveling with 1 luggage and 1 backpack for more than 2 years is that:
- I don´t need most of the things I own at home
- having less physical stuff is more satisfying
- letting go of stuff is relieving
In 2011 I traveled from Melbourne, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania. It was wintertime and cold.
The winter clothes I brought along with me were limited because somehow I imagined that in Australia it´s always hot – which wasn´t the case.
Thankfully there were a bunch of thrift shops in Hobart.
I went in bought some knitted sweaters and a jacket and was fine for the upcoming months.
My travels continued into the tropics a half year later and I donated all the stuff in a charity store in Sydney before I left.
The clothes served their purpose and after that I simply let them go.
While traveling it`s much easier to combat clutter compared to our homes.
Our luggage offers a limited space and we feel the negative impact of to much stuff, in form of heavy luggage immediately.
At home, it´s completely different.
The majority of our possessions are accumulated over a longer time period.
We have more space than just a luggage and the little bits and pieces seem to accumulate and to hide in every corner of the house.
Cupboards, drawers, shelves, and boxes offer plenty of space for clutter.
As a consequence, we still keep the stuff even though we don’t use and don´t need them anymore.
WHY YOU SHOULD DECLUTTER
Several studies prove that accumulated clutter in our homes has a negative effect on our well-being and on the quality of our lives.
A study of DePaul University, Chicago found out that we not only become attached to the objects we own, but also identify with them.
Yale School of Medicine found out that letting go of the things we own literally causes pain in our bodies.
The same regions in our brains are active during decluttering as during experiencing physical pain.
No wonder that it´s so hard to let go of stuff.
Princeton University, on the other hand, discovers that clutter is restricting our focus and adversely affects our productivity.
Ever experienced the situation that you needed to focus on your studies, on a project or on an important work and first thing you did was cleaning up the room?
If so, you might have sensed subconsciously the connection of a cleared room and focus.
Besides our ability of focus, clutter also affects our mood in a negative way as researchers at UCLA (Center on Everday Lives and Families) discovered.
Various studies with different outcomes but the same premise:
Clutter does more harm than good for our mental health.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF CLUTTER
- To much stuff in our environment overstimulates our senses.
- A cluttered home makes us feels overwhelmed and helpless because we have the feeling that we are never done with cleaning and organizing.
- We need more time to clean & organize clutter and therefore have less time spending it with our loved ones.
- To much stuff leads also to the fact that we are constantly distracted and can´t focus on the things we want.
- Our productivity and creativity suffer in chaotic surroundings.
- Too much stuff affects our physical and our mental well being in a negative way.
- Clutter causes anxiety.
- Too much stuff brings the cortisol levels in our body to rise and leads to stress.
- Can fuel depression.
- The underlying message of clutter is that we always have to do something. Therefore a cluttered space makes it more difficult to relax our mind.
Clutter simply doesn´t make happy and as scientific research shows rather does the opposite!
BEST PRODUCTS TO COMBAT CLUTTER
12 TIPS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE HOME
As this blog is all about creating a happy, balanced, awesome life I share with you 12 easy strategies for a clutter-free home.
By implementing the following 12 strategies into your daily life you will not only have less clutter but have as an effect also:
- more money
- more time
- more space
LESS CONSUMPTION = MORE MONEY
1. PLAN FOR THE WEEK
Make a plan for the week about the things you need to buy and go goal oriented into the supermarket to buy only the things you need.
2. BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED
You can do window shopping whenever you want, but avoid emotional driven spontaneous purchases.
Ask yourself honestly if you really need it or if you just want it.
3. SET UP A SAVINGS BOX
Make a special wish list for your birthday or at other special events where your loved ones want to shower you with presents.
This list is special because it only has items on it which you really need. Give this list to people who want to buy you a present. This way you just receive things you really love and need.
In case you do not need anything at all, set up a savings box where your family and friends can contribute as much as they want.
Once you want to buy something, you can open this savings box and use the given money for it. For example for your next travel.
4. BUY HIGH-QUALITY ITEMS
Instead of a bunch of low-quality items, rather buy fewer products of higher quality.
For example for the basics of your capsule wardrobe.
The high-quality products will last longer.
You will save time and eventually even money because you don´t have to replace them so often.
LESS DISTRACTION = MORE TIME
5. MEDIA FREE TIME
Decide consciously to make room for media free time.
No cell phone, no internet, no tv.
You can do it every evening at the same time for 1-2 hours or once per week for a few hours.
The key point here is that you consciously take time for yourself by implementing a media free time.
6. SAY NO TO ADVERTISEMENT
We all know how it feels to have a mailbox full of unwanted advertisement.
Say no to unwanted advertisement and only yes to the things you really care about.
7. DO ONE THING AT A TIME
Instead of multitasking do consciously one thing at a time.
Focus on the thing which is relevant to you at that time, instead of doing several things at once.
This way you will be much more satisfied because you´ll get more things done.
Use the productivity planner to maximize your focus and increase your productivity!
8. BREAKS IN NATURE
Make time for silence and conscious breaks in nature.
Time in nature will charge your batteries and you will return energized and happy.
This can be done through:
- sports in nature
- going for a walk in a park
- sitting on a bench and watching the trees or the birds flying by
LESS PHYSICAL STUFF = MORE SPACE
9. JOIN THE LIBRARY
If you love books as much as I do, join the library.
The library is a great source of awesome books, audiobooks, and DVDs.
RELATED: BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
10. GIVE AWAY WHAT YOU DON`T NEED
This one seems obvious, but in daily life, we don´t really practice it.
One effective way to get rid of stuff constantly is to give away 1 item for each new item entering the house.
This way it´s at least not more clutter coming into your physical space.
RELATED: HOW TO GET RID OF CLUTTER FOREVER
11. CLOSET CLEAN UP
Spring and autumn give you good options to declutter your closet.
Clothes you don´t need anymore can be simply sold or donated.
12. CLEAR OUT YOUR BATHROOM
Clear out your bathroom once a month.
Think about the items standing around in your bathroom.
Which ones do you really need?
Do you need more than 1 shampoo, 1 shower gel, 1 body lotion etc?
Put away the multiple items into a box and use them up one after the other before buying new things.
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How do you get rid of clutter effectively? Share it in the comments below!