Artwork for podcast The BraveHearted Woman
5 Benefits of Decluttering
Episode 9120th March 2023 • The BraveHearted Woman • Dawn Damon
00:00:00 00:18:32

Share Episode


It's that springtime again and you know what that means? Well, for me, it’s not much but for most of us, it does actually mean spring cleaning!

Listen to this quote, “Never in history have human beings had so much stuff inside their houses. One estimate puts the number of items inside the average American home at 300,000 items.” What! That statistic from Joshua Becker in his book, The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life. So we're gonna talk about clutter today and you guessed it.

What exactly is clutter?

Well, obviously it's excess. It's to fill your room with scattered, disorganized, things that begin to impede movement or reduce your effectiveness. A room cluttered with toys, books, magazines, and knickknacks, on and on, it goes. Well, the truth is, we have become clutter blind. Are you clutter blind by any chance? I know for a season of my life, I absolutely was clutter blind. I have to admit, I'll make the confession. I come from a long line of pack rats, and I would say almost bordering on hoarding, not really, but so many knickknacks, so much memorabilia, so many things that have good memories and they're reminiscent of days gone by. There are things that have beauty attached and emotions attached, but we don't often see the number of misplaced objects, knickknacks stacks of paper, and baskets filled with miscellaneous items that surround us in our homes, in our workplaces. And as we may declutter ourselves, clutter makes its way into every nook and cranny of our home.

Now Terry Lynn Mait, a professional organizer in Denver says and really believes that there are four kinds of clutter that create havoc for people. The first one is just technical clutter. She calls it clutter that causes restrictions in spaces and an overall lack of storage space. When you don't know where to put things and everything doesn't have a place because you're just crammed, you are gonna have what we call clutter.

Then the second category of clutter, she calls life changes. Clutter that causes is caused by something that's different in your life. Maybe a new baby, maybe a death in the family, maybe you've moved, or anything that has thrown your life out of balance. I was talking to a woman via text the other day, and she admitted to me that she indeed was a clutter bug. She said, ‘I used to not be, but I am now because, well, quite frankly, after the death of my parent, I just haven't been able to clean.’ So you see, she had a change in her life. Perhaps I mentioned to her even, do you think this might be some grief working its way out? And she said, ‘I think so because of her grief.’

And that's the next category that Terry Lynn Mait offers us is behavioral or psychological clutter. This clutter is caused by depression or grief. It is caused by attention deficit disorder or low self-esteem, or a lack of personal boundaries. I thought that was interesting. One time I heard a statistic for survivors of childhood trauma, and they said that in your bedroom, it's not unusual for a trauma survivor to have a trail of clutter leading from their door to their bed. And when I heard that, I was curious. So I ran into my bedroom, and lo and behold, ‘What do you think?’ I found a trail of clutter from the door to my bed.

In other words, nobody's getting in here without me hearing them coming in here first. That was a psychological behavior. It was an unconscious behavior. I know people who do indeed struggle with attention deficit have a hard time picking up or moving things or finding places for things or making decisions about what to do with things.

And then the fourth area of clutter comes from time or life management. This clutter is caused because you're basically just out of time. You need more time. You need better planning. How many times have you thrown something down? And said, I'm gonna get to that. I'm gonna pick that up later.’ Or, ‘Oops! Look it, I didn't manage my time well, I don't have time to clean or do the dishes. I'll come back.’ Or, ‘I don't have time to go through that mail.’ Or, ‘ I don't have time to go through that stack of magazines. I'm gonna come back to it.’

So those are the four main categories of clutter. Let's just review them again ~ technical clutter that causes space restrictions. You just don't have enough space to put everything, or you haven't designated a place for everything to go. Life changes like a new baby or a death in the family, a new job moving to a new community; behavioral, psychological clutter caused by grief or depression, or anything that's thrown your life out of balance or lifetime management, just not planning well and running out of time.

It's important for us to pay attention to clutter because whether you know it or not, clutter indeed has an impact on your life. It has a negative impact on your health. Study after study. Show us that clutter creates overwhelm and it increases stress. And I want you to know this, clutter is active, whether you recognize it or not. Clutter is not just sitting there minding its own business. Clutter is active at all times, impacting your nervous system, coming in through your eye gate, going through your brain, and your processing, not enough white space for your brain even to find some downtime or just to relax or to de-stress because you are constantly processing the number of stimuli that you see.

In fact, just planning to do a talk this month on clutter and this podcast for you all, I was overwhelmed at how many things actually need to be decluttered in our life. Think about it. We have digital clutter, we have emails, we have text, and we have messages. We have tabs opened on our computers and our phones. We have to put so much clutter in its place in the digital space. What about closet clutter? How many of us just have closets? Like the house might look good, look clean, right? Come on somebody. But when you get off the beaten path, if you open a closet or you go into it, sometimes people have what they call chuck rooms where you just chuck everything. You're gonna come back to it clutter everywhere. There's kitchen clutter. You open drawers and things are falling out and you're not finding the utensils that you want. You just have too much kitchen clutter and knickknacks. They started out as collectibles, and then people found out that you collect them, and everybody that you know is sending you these little knickknacks.

Now you don't know what to do with it because you have memories attached or their sentimental value involved. So you feel beholden to this collection. Then what you used to collect or what you used to look for now, collects you, saves you, looks for you, and takes your time, your energy, and your money. It's time to get rid of that knickknack collection. You've outgrown it. You don't need it anymore. I was thinking about it too. All the clutter that's in our garage, rakes and shovels and garden things and boots and shoes and gloves and pesticides, and anything extra that we don't need is in the garage. We have clutter everywhere. While accumulating a few extra possessions might not feel like a big deal at first.

As we said, eventually clutter can overwhelm and overtake your home. We do know that there's kind of categories like there are collectibles, there's clutter, and then there's hoarding. Some people actually do move into hoarding. I was a little tongue-in-cheek earlier. I don't have that psychological disorder of hoarding in our family, but we do. We even we're trained. I was trained as a little girl to have a keepsake box. It was fun and it was beautiful. But what I learned from that was to always have a sentimental value attached to every possession. So it made it really hard for me growing up and even in my young adult life to throw anything away. I have so many items from family members and gifts and hammy downs and things that belong to my mom and my dad and my grandparents and my great-grandparents, and who's gonna end even the generational clutter that we have? It's a lot. But as I said a moment ago, clutter does have a negative impact on your life. It can affect your mental health. It does indeed increase your stress levels, clutter makes it difficult for you to focus, whether you know it or not.

I had a designer at my home one time. It was shortly after I had gotten married and Paul and I had come out to bind our household. So we had a lot of stuff. The decorator designer came into the home and she was standing there. She was looking around at the walls and the things because we wanted to change them up and make them ours. She said, ‘Wow, okay.’ And finally, she said, ‘I can't think in here. I have to go outside.’ She could not focus because there was so much clutter in the house that it was short-circuiting. Her creativity. Clutter can take a toll on your relationships too, by the way. People get frustrated and their tempers kind of flare up, coming from high-stress levels because we can't find things and things are misplaced or not put away, right? So, frustration in relationships and the way we communicate with each other. So it does.

A well-known study that research has proven to us and documented that clutter disrupts relationships. Clutter can even have an effect on how well you sleep. Did you know that? So you're sleeping and your mind is still processing all of the things around you even while you sleep. It seems crazy, doesn't it? But what happens when you declutter your life? What happens when you take a moment and say, I don't want any more of this? While the opposite of everything that we just talked about. It is an effective way to reduce stress in your life. Do think about this. Do look around your house. Do say, ‘do I have more stress than I want? Let me declutter a room.’ If you've done it, you know the feeling that I'm talking about when you walk into a freshly cleaned room and everything in you goes.

In fact, we know psychologically spas are created to do that very thing. They're minimalist. There's not a lot of stuff on the walls. The paint is a very soothing color. You might see a plant, but you're not going to see a lot of clutter in places that are designed intentionally to soothe you and de-stress you. What about a room in your house? You should have one of those. Eliminating excess stuff can benefit you in so many ways ~ your energy levels, and your mental health. Like we said a moment ago, your relationships. In fact, let me give you five benefits that you're gonna get from decluttering. Then I'm gonna give you a challenge and I'm gonna ask you to think about this, and then I'm gonna ask you to take steps.

So one benefit, it brings a peaceful mind. ‘Oh, don't we need peace?’ In our world today and in our lives today, there are a lot of things coming at us at once. Coming home to an oasis, a clean decluttered home is a beautiful sense of safety and peace, and tranquility. So that's one benefit you'll get in bringing clutter to a minimum or eliminating it altogether in your home. Your home will be a place of refuge and tranquility and peace for you instead of a point of contention and frustration.

Number two, the second benefit you're gonna find in decluttering is that decluttering and ordering your home saves you time. The average woman looks for things for a total of 55 minutes a day. You can't find stuff. You're looking for things for a total of 55 minutes a day because of clutter. ‘Where did I put this? Doesn't have a place where it belongs?’ You put items and objects in different places all the time. That's also called clutter. It doesn't have a home. So everything in your home has to have its home. So every time you go for it, you know right where it is. This is where I keep it. This is where it belongs. It will save you time. What else could you do with an extra hour every day or every morning? If you didn't have clutter, you wouldn't be late for work. And that's another benefit. It keeps you on time. That's extra bonus.

The third one that I wanna tell you about is when you have order in your home, you end the chaos and you get rid of clutter, you save money. You actually save money because now you don't buy duplicates because you know where stuff is. You know if you're running out or you know if you still have it or you say, ‘Oh, I must have given that away. I don't know where it is. I can't find it.’ You go out and buy another one and exactly 22 minutes after you buy a new one, you'll find the other one. So declutter so that you can save money.

The fourth benefit, we've talked about it already, but it does end the frustration, and it gives you more energy for your dreams and your goals. I need more energy for my dreams and goals. I don't want to spend and waste time looking for things that I don't know where I put or I can't find it. I want that energy for my goals and for my dreams.

Finally, the fifth benefit that you're gonna find is your self-esteem is gonna skyrocket. Yes, it will. Your self-esteem will indeed skyrocket when you declutter. As I mentioned a moment ago, we used to call them self-esteem projects. When we'd go in a room and clean it, you just wanna sit in that room. You don't wanna leave because it feels so good. Or like in the morning, the first thing you do is make your bed, because the next time you come in that room, it feels beautiful, and your self-esteem is boosted. You feel like you're accomplishing something and you feel really good about yourself and your achievements just by decluttering. Try it. It's true.

So if you're ready, and if you're prepared to say, I'm gonna take this challenge, I have a free gift that I'm gonna be offering you. You can find the link in the notes, but I am going to be offering you a guide to decluttering. How do I do? How do I do that? How do I declutter? I'm gonna give you 10 Steps to Declutter your Home by Dawn Damon this week. This month is my free gift to you.

But here's my call to action for you. If you love this podcast, I want you to also check it out on YouTube, by the way, and you can see me live. And if you're watching on YouTube, make sure that you subscribe so we can keep this good message going.

For all the brave-hearted women out there that need sometimes a little push in the tush, you can find me at Dawn Damon on my YouTube channel: The BraveHearted Woman. But I want you to take the challenge that you would say, for the next 30 days, I'm gonna eliminate one thing for my house every day. For the next 30 days, I'm gonna eliminate one thing. What would happen to you? What would happen to your house? What would happen to your bedroom? Well, I think you can do it. Let's see if you can pull off the 30-day challenge you are going to declutter your home, I'd love to hear about it. Drop me a comment in the comment box or email I wanna know how you're doing.

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you. I have a free gift for you. Make sure that you check it out, click the link, and I will look forward to hearing about your good results. All right, my friend, that's what I have for you. I hope to leave you the way that I always leave you on every podcast and every episode, I should say, of my podcast and my YouTube. This is Dawn Damon, your Braveheart mentor saying, find your brave and live your dreams.