Scientists have written about the negative mental, emotional, and potentially physical, effects of clutter on our lives. They can include an inability to focus and process information. Clutter also usually results in disorganization that often proves costly both in terms of time and money. One common example is being late for work as the result of hunting for car keys finally discovered beneath the stack of old newspapers you’ve been meaning to throw out. Beginning the day with the panic and frustration of locating misplaced items can mean less energy for things that really matter.


The ancient Chinese art of feng shui recognizes the importance of organization in creating a harmonious home atmosphere favorable to calm and creativity. Some practitioners even believe that organizing different directional spaces within your home can serve to attract specific benefits. Art and science agree that clutter and disorganization contribute to anxiety and a sense of unease, which over time, can lead to disease. Clutter is also often a symptom of hoarding, which has recently become classified as a potentially unhealthy disorder.


They say that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but when it comes to our possessions, it can often be hard to tell the difference. We keep so many things based not on their usefulness, but on the memories we attach to them. Maybe you haven’t worn that fuchsia gown in the back of your closet since you were a bridesmaid at a wedding five years ago, but that wedding was where you met your own special someone. That old set of golf clubs collecting cobwebs in the corner of the garage hasn’t seen daylight since you got that new set for Christmas three years ago, but you hit your first hole in one with it.


Yard sales are a great way to de-clutter, provide yourself with a little extra cash, interact with neighbors to strengthen community ties, and feel good about knowing that someone else is enjoying or making good use of items that have been sitting around collecting dust. Someone else is likely to fall as deeply in love with that one-of-a-kind candy dish or wall hanging as you once did, and you’ll also be helping the planet. Every item that’s recycled saves the natural resources used to produce them as well as reducing the size of the world’s landfills.


For those things that we simply can’t bear to part with, like those precious handprints your child made back in kindergarten or that T-shirt from your first concert that are taking up vital living space, one solution is a backyard storage unit. They are now available in various shapes and sizes to accommodate just about any type of space. A treasured trip down memory lane can literally remain as close as your own backyard.


There are as many ways for storing items that are important but seldom used, like bicycle tire repair kits and assorted nails and screws, as there are people. Many people enjoy the creative challenge of finding inexpensive solutions to organizing clutter, like utilizing a little spray paint to color-code and decorate old coffee tins for storage. Others take advantage of the newest technology, like remote controlled overhead platform systems. Another good example of a simple way that technology can help reduce clutter is the ability to scan and digitize old photos, which can then be stored on space-saving flash drives and enjoyed more frequently.


Whether your personal decluttering process is an exercise in creativity or a ruthlessly efficient time-saving strategy, de-cluttering is a wonderful way of periodically re-examining your priorities. Life is a constant process of rearranging our lives to be in accordance with our deepest held beliefs and those things, and people, who are ultimately most important to us.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that when it comes to decluttering, less is more. Less clutter means less disorganization, which means less stress and frustration. While lessening the negative, decluttering increases life’s positives with more time, space money, energy, safety and freedom. While you’re enjoying a sense of accomplishment after decluttering your living space, you can use some of that extra time to make a list of enjoyable ways to spend the rest of it.


Written by Philip P.