DECLUTTERING: GOOD FOR THE HOME, GOOD FOR THE SOUL

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Sep 24, 2021

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For more information on the authorPatricia Rockwood, Instructor and Staff Writer at Suncoast Technical College, CLICK HERE.
This course was inspirational for a lifestyle/behavior change vs. just short-term actions to declutter.ACE student in Decluttering class
Therearegood reasonswhy courses in decluttering elicit comments such as these on evaluation forms. People recognize the fact that decreasing the clutter in our liveswhether physical, digital, or emotionalcanhelp us to feel better. Why?

Getting rid of clutter reduces stress
In 2015, fullya third of respondentsin a survey by the National Association of Professional Organizerssaid that they felt overwhelmed by the clutter in their livesand didnt know where to beginto remedy the situation.The unused software on your computer that makes itrunwaytoo slowly;the zillions of pictures on your phoneso many that youcan never find the one you wantto show a friend;the jammed closetsand drawers; the garage that is hopelessly piled with junkall ofthesesituationscause stresson our bodiesand minds, which can build up over the years.
Thats not just a theory. Its backed up by research. For instance,a study published inPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletinfound that women who described theirhomesas cluttered had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in theirbloodstream, andwere more likely tobefatigued or depressed,thanwomen who described their homesasrestful andrestorative.A study by Indiana University found that cleaning can have a positive impact on physicalhealthbecause it increases the amount of physical activity a personregularlyengages in, andanother one by Connecticut University found thatduring times of high stress, people sometimes find relief by doing menial jobs such as cleaning.

Declutteringhelps you feel better about yourself
Even small steps to start decluttering have a wonderful calming effect.Taking that first step to declutter is like a breath of fresh air.One woman said: I organized my sock drawer the other day, and now sometimes I open the drawerjustto look at it it just makes me feel good!Every small accomplishment is something that canbe celebrated, because its a step in the right direction.Its the glass half full attitude, rather than the glass half empty one.

Decluttering improves focus and concentration
Withso muchstuffclamoringforyourattention from so many differentcornersof your home,it's hard to know where to start, and sometimes, its even hard to start, period.But according to astudypublished in theJournal of Neuroscience,people are more productive and better able to process informationin an uncluttered and organized space.Once you begin to declutter your environment, it will get easier to continue.Everysmall declutteredspace is a small oasis where you can breathe, relax, and focus on your next project.

Have a plan
Consider beginning bythinkingabout how you want to organize the space youneedto tackle. Whether its digital or physical, and whether you need physicalcontainers or digital folders, draw a diagram of how you want to organize your material. For instance, considering your images, you might want to create albums by subject matter (e.g., family, vacations, animals, work). If youre lookingto declutteryour garage,you might need topurchase some sturdy shelving or cabinets, and you might organize items by type (e.g.tools, toys, lawn/garden, sports, pantry, car parts).Set up the folders on yourcomputer, ororder the shelves or cabinets as soon as possible so youll be ready to start.

The Swiss cheeseconcept
Take on decluttering piecemeal, a little at a time, likethe holes ina slice of Swiss cheese. The feeling thatyou dont have to tackle that entire folder of a thousand images and organize them all at once is reassuring, isnt it? Start with20, andorganize those today. Then organize another 20 tomorrow; or maybe 50. Its totally up to you.The idea is to be comfortable, to be easy on yourself so that you enjoy doing it. That way, youll be more likely to keep doing a little of it every day or so until the job is complete.Theres no time like the present. Start today!

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