6 Ways to Declutter Your Space (And Improve Your Mental Well-being)

Written by Yuki Hayashi/Brannavy Jeyasundaram

2 min read

So, we’ve been spending more time at home than usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has made indoors a much safer option than social gathering outdoors. If you’re anything like me your daily routine looks a lot like bed-to-desk-to stroll outside-to desk-to TV-to bed. Or some variation of the sort. In between then, it’s not uncommon for a cup to land in the sink and then a dozen.

Suddenly, I’m stuck in a mess of my own making. I have no other option but to clean. This realization is typically paired with personal frustration and stress-induced panic. At a time where news headlines range from a global health crisis to climate-induced disaster to political mayhem, it’s the last thing I need. 

Turns out, Marie Kondo was onto something. A clean space is key to mental-well being especially during uncertain times. Your home should be a place of refuge and comfort where you can easily find things, replace them, and use them for later.

The mess-stress connection

Clutter has a profound effect on our moods, and how we feel in our homes. A cluttered space is distracting, overwhelming, frustrating and anxiety-inducing

Just as a desk covered in paperwork and coffee mugs is less conducive to creativity, a living room chock-full of random objects feels less relaxing, and a kitchen overflowing with junk, less inviting. You can’t enjoy your home if the features you love are hidden by stuff, stuff, and more stuff. 

A messy home has also been linked to more marital arguments and less socializing. And with everyone under the same roof, we’ll want to preserve our energy as much as we can.

It’s time we start looking at house cleaning as less of a chore, and more of a wellness activity. The mental health benefits – reduced stress, happier social lives – go above and beyond prettier homes and better-organized spaces. If we’re stuck inside, we might as well feel in control of our home.

Ready to start?

Home cleaning begins with decluttering. After all, you can’t wipe down your baseboards if you can’t even reach them! 

Here are 6 tips to kick-off your stay-at-home order purge:

  1. Get the whole household involved. You can make the ordeal, er, “effort” more pleasant by incentivizing it. Plan a nice post-cleaning reward like a movie night, yoga session, or bake-off with friends and/or family.
  1. Set a start and end time. Decluttering shouldn’t take up the entire weekend. Keep everyone positive by letting them know life goes on…outside of Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that is!
  1. Make a fire playlist. Cleaning to Tina Turner is basically a dance-a-thon. The broom is your partner, the soap your audience. Who said cleaning had to be silent?
  1. Don’t micro-manage. If you live with others, trust that everyone knows what they want in their personal space and what can be edited out. 
  1. Give everyone three bags or bins. One for trash, one for gently used items that can be cleaned and donated, and one for vagabond items that have wandered to the wrong room and need to be relocated.  
  1. Pass it on. Sometimes it’s easier to let go if you know your gently used items are going to people who need them. Donating to a friend or a local charity can take the sting out of saying goodbye to baby blankets, children’s clothes, and toys. 

Join the conversation: Has a clean space helped you stay less-stressed during COVID?


Read on: Check out three different approaches to decluttering from three different organizing pros.

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