Reminder: This weekend is the first real test of your New Year's resolution to declutter.
Even if your goal this year isn't to clean house, we have a list of eight ways that decluttering can help you kick off the year with a fresh start and achieve your new year, new you thing.
1. Reduce Stress and Be Happier
That clutter in your house could be causing stress. It competes for your attention and makes simple tasks more of a challenge when you can't find what you're looking for. Research shows a direct link between high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and the amount of stuff in a home.
2. Focus More on What Matters Most in Life
Clutter is visual noise that is distracting because it's stuff not being used. It becomes the go-to pile for procrastinators. If you're set on achieving a new goal this year, you need to stay focused and not get distracted by items that might be calling out to you to be finished or "put to use". Don't let small things distract you or drain energy from those more meaningful life goals.
3. Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem
Clutter also can make us feel disorganized and overwhelmed, making us feel like we don't have our life together. Each item can also carry with it a bit of guilt. Not only at the cost of the item, but subtle shame in not finishing a project or the feeling that we bought more than we need. The key is to keep what inspires and motivates us.
4. Let Go of the Past
This one's a no-brainer. To move on and let go of the past, there are certain items that you should let go of as well. This is a category of clutter all to its own. These items might have a purpose, so you keep them, but they subtly affect your mood. As mentioned above, if the item makes you feel good, keep it; if it drags you down, it's time to get rid of it.
5. Being More Present and Focused
Want to be more present and focused this year? Making space and getting rid of things that you don't need is a great way to start. Clutter can be a distraction and feel like another thing on your to-do list. Be in the now.
6. Get Better Sleep
With so many benefits of clearing your space and grounding yourself, it's not a surprise that decluttering can improve your sleep.
7. Be More Creative
This goes hand-in-hand with reducing stress and finding space. When you eliminate the distractions and create a space that improves your mood, you allow yourself to be more creative and finally take on that novel or that baroque ceiling mural idea that you've been putting off.
8. Support Charity and Give Back to the Community
If your resolution was to give more to charity and support your community, the Heritage Center is a great place to start. We’re still accepting donations at the north entrance of the Barn, Monday – Friday 10 a.m to 2 p.m. (donation days change in Spring).
While decluttering, you might also come across a piece of local history that you might want to share. If that’s the case, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of the artifact.
There are also many other local charities that accept donations, including GracePlace, Goodwill, ReStore (Habitat for Humanity), and FiveLoaves.