The Clutter Cycle – How to Clear Your Space for a Happier Life

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that clutter can have as much of an impact on your physical life as it does on your mental health. The disorder can often lead to distraction, anxiety, and disputes within the household. Fortunately, there are simple and effective solutions that can create lasting change.

Clutter can negatively impact your productivity and wellbeing. Below are four steps to clear your space and mind for a healthier life.

Acknowledge the mess

The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge there is one. In this case, if you’re ready to tackle the clutter, it’s important to recognize the issue. Ask yourself how the clutter impacts your everyday life, how it got to that point, and why change is necessary. Keep your answers simple and avoid judgment.

Establish goals

Once you have some clarity on the clutter and its impact on your life, use that insight to create significant goals. Whether you want to reclaim your space to make enough room for your painting hobby or you want to clear the clutter to get rid of shame and stress, establishing goals can help you reach those objectives. Goals can also keep you accountable when you’re feeling defeated and steering off track, so don’t skip this critical step in the process.  

woman decluttering home and donating itemsDonate, discard, designate

When going through this process, it’s important to recognize that organization is not the opposite of (or the solution to) clutter. Sure, organizing is an essential step of the process, but only when you’ve arrived at that critical step in the journey. Clutter usually happens when there are excess items in a single space. The only way to solve this issue is to get rid of some of the excess items. That’s why donating and discarding is an essential step of the process.

Acknowledge each item and ask yourself if it should be donated (in decent condition), discarded (no longer usable), or designated (keep and organize). Hold off on organizing the keep pile until you’ve gone through all the items at hand. Once you’re done, dump the discard pile, drop off the donate pile at your favorite thrift store or charity, and organize your keep pile in a system that works best for you.  

Maintain momentum

Maintaining a tidy space is essential to the decluttering process. It can be easy, and sometimes tempting, to revert to our old ways. What may seem like a harmless pile of mail can eventually lead to an overwhelming hoard of coupons, magazines, and paperwork. Challenge yourself to tidy each space before going to bed at night.