Clutter has become one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives today. When you declutter your life, you increase your productivity, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve your mental health. Clutter in America should be declared a national health hazard. Good news, there is a cure. Need motivation, here are my reasons to declutter your life today!
In order to understand the problem, we need to understand why we hold on to all these things in our lives? Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy believe it’s due to our personalities and feel that most people can fit into one or more of the following 3 clutter personalities:
Overwhelmed in Life = Overwhelmed at Home: You don’t know where to begin—so you just live with the chaos.
Too Busy = Too Many Extras: You buy items you already own because you don’t have a system in place for where to store them or, when you need to find things fast, the time to search through all the possible storage spots.
Constant Worrier = Must Save Everything: You’re concerned that you “might” need something in the future, so you save everything, “just in case.”
I use to fit into all 3 personalities but I decided to do something about it. I wrote an article about how having too much stuff adds an incredible amount of stress in your life. Its called “Living a Less Stressful Life with a Moderate Minimalist Lifestyle“. Once I realized the harm I was causing myself, I realized it was time to let go (of all the junk in my life).
Do you fit into one or more of these personalities? If you do, why not give decluttering a try and see if you can also experience the life changing effects decluttering can have on your life too.
Top 20 Reasons to Declutter Your Life
It is very clear to most people. A simple life is less stressful and way more productive. Clutter brings confusion and distractions. If you want to be focused and gt more done, then declutter your life!
There are plenty of benefits to living this simple or moderate minimalist lifestyle, and honestly I cannot find any drawbacks to it. It is easy to implement and you can judge for yourself if it improves your life the way you want.
Decluttering your life is a combination of getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t bring you joy and controlling the impulses of buying more stuff.
There are actually way more then 20 reasons to declutter your life. Everyone is different and has different goals in life. The main reason to declutter your life is because it allows you to focus and accomplish your personal goals in life. Since everyone has different goals, everyone has different benefits to decluttering.
1. Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety
Less clutter means less stress. If you are like me, you can focus more in a clean, uncluttered work space. Imagine how your life would improve if you extend this declutter zone to your whole house, car, office, and digital space.
You will dramatically increase your focus, productivity, and get more done in less time. Trust me, this really works!
There have been several studies that show people who work in a cluttered or disorganized environment are less productive and carry around more stress and anxiety. The studies also researched how children are affected by growing up in such an environment and the results were very similar and have long term negative affects on them.
2. More Gratitude for What You Already Own
Gratitude is the key to happiness!
The fewer items you own, the more you will appreciate the items you have. You will use them more and take pride in ownership. If these items are tied to a hobby, maybe you will be able to spend more time on that hobby and enjoy your life a little more too.
The quote “Love People, Use Things, as the opposite never works” is more true then ever before.
3. Dramatically Increase Your Bank Account
When you buy less stuff, you end up spending far less money. Like, a whole lot less money. Little by little the money you save will grow in your bank account. Money in the bank will reduce your stress and allow you to use compounding interest to grow your money even more.
Dave Ramsey always say’s “If you will live like no one else, later you can live (and Give) like no one else.” This means you should live life frugally now and save up your money and you will have an incredible life later.
The great thing about this lifestyle is you will not only live an incredible life later, but by decluttering, you will dramatically improve your life today too.
Take a look at your credit card bills each month and imagine what would happen if that money were to grow in some investment every month instead of go to clutter.
How would you feel knowing your rainy day fund can grow by hundreds or thousands each month.
This is like getting a massive pay raise that you don’t have to pay taxes on.
4. Lower Your Monthly Bills
Cash flow is the balancing of money in and out of your life each month. When more money can come in than go out, you have a positive cash flow and this will promote savings and investments.
When you cut your monthly bills by canceling services you don’t use or reduce your credit card bills to just your needs and not wants, you will be able to save an incredible amount of money.
Extra money will allow you to experience life more by taking great vacations or reducing your larger costs like paying off your mortgage earlier (and thereby saving more money in the long run).
5. Spend More Money on Experiences
Life is not about the collection of stuff in your storage unit.
Life is about the collection of experiences with friends and loved ones.
Imagine having money to go out with friends, get a cup of coffee, take a weekend getaway, or just take a day to relax at the beach. Most experiences cost money. Coffee is several dollars at Starbucks and a day at the beach costs around $20 here in NJ.
How many of us dream about visiting another country and experiencing a different culture. Do you have a desire to have a slice of pizza in Italy or hop on a cruise someway and breath in fresh salty air?
All this is possible when you prioritize your life and put these things above temporary contentment like buying stuff.
6. Focus on What’s Important to You
If you spend time learning about what people wish they spent more time on in their life, no one has ever said “I wish I spent more time shopping”. I am positive no one ever said “I wish I spent more time working so I can afford to spent more time shopping”.
They always say things like ‘spending time with family and friends’ or ‘wishing they had more time to see the world’. Some people wish they could have focused more on the ‘important things in their life’.
Many people love to read, watch movies, or play sports. Some love to experience art and music.
Others love to just spend time with themselves and be mindful of the monment.
The clutter in your life is holding you back form spending time on what’s important in your life. It is taking your time, your money, and your focus away from other things in your life.
What is important to you and what do you need in your life to be able to focus more time on it?
7. Spend More Time Working on Your Passion Instead of Your Job
Once you are able to change your monthly cash flow and build a savings account, you are now able to reduce the amount of time you spend at work and focus your time on your passion.
You stop selling your time to build your bosses dreams and you can now start to build your own dreams.
Its your life, why not spend your time on things you love.
8. Buy Quality Over Quantity
You will need things in your life so buying new things is perfectly OK. You just need to make sure those new things have meaning.
If you want to travel the world and capture those memories, you will need a camera. If you want to write the next the great novel, you will need a computer and life experiences to create something truly original.
When you buy quality items (that cost more up front), they will last longer and provide lower cost of ownership. Buying quality items is actually cheaper in the long run, provide better services to you, and can bring you happiness. You can truly appreciate the things you have in your life when you have fewer items to divide your time on.
When you buy in quantity, you add to your clutter. By limiting what you buy, you can now focus on quality and really enjoy your purchases.
When I was young, I splurged when I got my first credit card and went our and bought a used Nikon FM2 camera. This was a fantastic camera (that I still own today) and I probably spend about 2-3 hundred dollars on it.
I have had it for 30 years which turns out to about $10 a year. The camera is in my photo studio and use it as a prop wen I take some pictures. I use it as a reminder of how buying quality can make me feel even 30 years later.
One other thing about quality stuff. It works. When you buy junk, it is almost guaranteed to break in a very short amount of time. This creates waste and leaves you without an item you need. Focus on quality and this shouldn’t happen.
9. Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Saving the world improves your outlook and self-worth (at least for me).
When I buy fewer items or items of higher quality, I produce less waste (most often plastic) and contribute in my little way to improving the planet.
Can you imagine what a few million people can do to help the planet if we all approached life in a more moderate minimalist way?
10. Less Time Spent Cleaning
Who like spending time cleaning? I am sure the answer is clear, the fewer items you have, the less cleaning you need to do.
Lets be honest, you will still need to clean. Floors will still need vacuuming, shelves (that are now mostly empty) will need dusting, and cars will need a washing but you will spend much less time doing these things.
You can instead spend this time enjoying your life more.
11. Attachment Equals Suffering
This is a Buddhist principle (for the record, I am not a Buddhist) but this makes perfect sense and worth noting. Wanting things creates suffering because it is never ending. You are never satisfied because once you have the current want, you will replace it with another. Always wanting means you are not content and contentment is the basics for happiness. According to Buddha, stop wanting and start living.
The 4 noble truths according to Buddhist teachings are:
- All Suffering exists
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
- Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
Stop desiring stuff and your life will improve.
12. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Your self worth cannot be determined by how much stuff your neighbor has or the car a coworker drives. Life is a stage and everyone is an actor playing their dream character.
Don’t get lost in their show. See it for what it really is. Everyone is trying to influence other people and will go into dept to do it.
Don’t get pulled into this game of “Who’s life is better”.
Let your happiness be your status symbol of the quality of your life, not your things.
Since we already know having stuff will never make you happier, then comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time.
13. Decisions Become Easier
With less distractions around you and clear goals in life, you can easily make better decisions that matter to you.
Some people (like myself) get distracted if there is clutter around me. It makes it hard to focus on one thing when I have papers on my desk or things laying around.
When I remove the distractions, I can focus on the questions and provide better answers. I have a clear view of my goals and where I want to go in life.
Small side note. I mostly use the Warren Buffet 8-8-8 rule for making decisions. This is simply determining how you will feel about this decision in 8 minutes from now, 8 months from now, and 8 years from now.
This is a great way to break down each decision you make and see how it can help or hurt you succeeding in your long and short term goals in life.
14. Exit the Rat Race
Once you learn that you have success in life and that you matter, you should no longer feel like you need to acquire more trophies in life.
Everyone is racing in life to get more of the “American Dream” not realizing that they are already have their dream life.
We need to learn that more is not better. Life is not about working and earning a paycheck. Life is about living a life you can be proud of and minimal living will help you see this.
Exit the Rat Race and enjoy a nice peaceful walk around the neighborhood instead.
15. Learning that People Matter More Then Stuff
Stuff will break, become outdated, and lose their value over time.
People and experiences will grow inside you and flourish into treasured life memories.
Most people will never remember the stuff they buy over the years so don’t waste your money or effort pursuing stuff.
Enjoy your life and treasure your memories.
16. No More Fear of Losing Your Lifestyle
When you simplify or declutter your life, you get down to the basics of life and it is very easy to maintain.
When you reduce the clutter and remove the stuff in your life, you realize you can maintain your lifestyle on way less money.
I have read a lot about people who have reduced their lifestyle to under 500 square feet and can live very happily on under 10K a year.
With this knowledge, you quickly realize you can survive a massive economic downturn in your life and will not be phased by it. What do you think this level of comfort will do to your stress level?
17. Letting Go of the Past and Focus on the Present
This one is a huge one for me personally. I am a big planner and I tend to create life plans well into the future. Whenever life throws a change my way, it alters all my future life goals and I need to make adjustments.
The lack of certainty of my future creates stress. A simple way I overcome this is by focusing on the present.
Our current actions and daily habits will create our future. I cannot be worried about something that will happen 5 or 10 years from now.
If we focus on what we are doing today and how it will improve your tomorrow, you can avoid all of the stress related to change in your life and see it for what it really is, Opportunity!
18. Inspire Creativity
When you have fewer things in your life, then you will need to be more creative with the things you have.
Each item needs to serve multiple purposes in your life. This is great for the environment because you are creating less waste.
It is great for your financial future because you don’t waste money.
Lastly, it is great for your creativity because you will learn to see potential in things that most other people will not see.
This will train your brain to be resourceful and realize you can overcome problems in your life without needing money or more stuff.
19. Help Others by Donating
What can you do with all the extra stuff in your life you don’t want anymore?
Donate it to someone in need.
I give tons of stuff to my local Goodwill and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. They sell it and use the money for supporting their fantastic community programs. I get to feel good my removing my clutter and helping out such a great cause. Everyone wins on this one.
20. You Have the Option to Downsize if You Want
When you declutter your life, you realize you have a ton of extra space in the house. Actually, you have too much space in the house. You realize can actually reduce your living space and save a ton of money on a lower mortgage and utility costs too.
Smaller house means fewer TV’s. This means fewer cable box rentals. Smaller house means a less lawn maintenance. Life just gets easier when you can downsize or Rightsize into a lifestyle that is better focused on what matters to you.
You house should be a place for living your life, not holding your stuff.
Empty space is more valuable—psychologically and physically—than almost any object. Try and image how your life will improve if you can declutter your life. The best part, this is not hard to do!
Decluttering starts with just a few small steps. There are lots of ways to do it. There is the 30 day Game from the minimalist. Also on the minimalist, there is the packing party (for more extreme decluttering). You can also take it one day at a time and do 5 minutes every day of organizing and decluttering.
What clutter personality do you fit in and are you able to over come those challenges and declutter your life today?
Remember, this is not a race but a steady improvement in your life. You are free to dive right in and do a massive declutter or you can gradually make changes and adjust over time. The choice is yours.
Are you convinced to start decluttering your life today? Leave a commend below and share your story. If you want to receive an email when new articles are posted, don’t forget to signup to our email list.