Spring is finally here! I’ve loved seeing the tulips and daffodils pop up everywhere around the Hamptons in the past few weeks. The colors are bright and cheerful and just what we all need to shake off the winter blues. 

The arrival of spring and the energy that comes with longer days is a wonderful opportunity to clear out the dusty corners of my home. Part of my work as a Hamptons interior designer (anchor link) is advising clients on creating the happy, healthy home of their dreams, and that includes maintaining a calm, inviting atmosphere in your home.

Using a mindful approach to organizing and eco-friendly cleaning products can help you maintain the freshness of spring all year long. Let’s dive into spring cleaning with the tips below!

The Benefits of Decluttering

I don’t know about you, but I personally live in a small home. Walking through the front door to  piles of mail, muddy shoes, and dusty surfaces isn’t the most welcoming way to enter. As a designer my goal is to provide a sanctuary for my clients through good design and calming spaces.

Did you know that clutter in our homes can be a source of stress? Sherrie Bourg Carter writes, “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.”

Clutter can invade our physical and mental spaces and prevent us from fully enjoying life! So tackling those dusty corners and piles of papers should be on your spring to-do list.

5 Mental Benefits of Decluttering

Imagine a happier, healthier you. You have more energy to tackle big projects, spend time with your family, and yes, maintain your home. That’s the power of decluttering. Here are five key mental health benefits of keeping a clutter-free home:

  1. Less stress. Piles of stuff in our home can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Decluttering can reduce our stress levels.
  2. Reduced anxiety. Looming stacks of mail and overflowing pantries can make us feel overwhelmed. This leads to anxiety, since we don’t know where to start. Staying on top of clutter can significantly reduce anxiety.
  3. Improved focus. Humans are highly visual. When we have to process so much visual information, it can be hard to concentrate. A tidy desk with one or two items is so beneficial for improving concentration and productivity.
  4. A positive outlook. Decluttering can improve your mood and help you feel more optimistic about life in general. 
  5. A sense of accomplishment. Imagine how you would feel, clearing the clutter for good! 

Already you can see how beneficial keeping a tidy, organized home can be! But decluttering also improves your physical health.

4 Physical Benefits of Decluttering

Picture walking into your pantry and knowing exactly what you’re making for dinner, because you can clearly see what ingredients you have. Imagine a peaceful, restful sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and ready for your day. That’s the power of a tidy home.

A decluttered home offers the following physical benefits:

  1. Light exercise. After an initial decluttering, taking time every day to walk through your home and pick up items and organize helps get you moving a bit every day. If you sit most of the day for work, taking a break to tidy up is a great way to get some light exercise.
  2. Reduces allergens in the home. Maintaining clean surfaces and changing out your HVAC filters reduces allergens and other air impurities in the home. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, clean air quality can reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
  3. Improved sleep. A tidy bedroom has the power to help you sleep better. Taking time to put clothes away and clear surfaces will help you drift off faster and stay asleep.
  4. Healthy eating. Keeping your refrigerator and pantry organized will help with meal planning and with cooking healthier meals. You’ll be able to quickly see what you have and what you need to buy, and won’t feel the need to just dial the phone for takeout!

Decluttering Step By Step

Now you see all the health benefits of decluttering, it’s time to take action. Depending on what your home looks like now, you may need to declutter in stages over several weeks. 

It’s important to approach decluttering with a plan, to avoid overwhelm. Remember— we’re trying to improve mental well-being, not make things worse!

Here’s how I recommend decluttering your home.

Visualize a Happy, Healthy Home

Mindset is so important when you’re starting a big project. I’ve been practicing mindfulness daily for years, and it provides me with better clarity and focus to accomplish my goals. 

So the first step is to find a quiet place in your home. See if you can get up a few minutes earlier than your family so you can concentrate on this activity.

First, close your eyes and take a few deep, calming breaths. Feeling relaxed? Good! Now picture your home. Mentally stand at the front door, and enter. Visualize your home as you want to see it. The surfaces are gleaming, the light fixtures sparkle, coats and shoes are tidy in the closet. Walk through each room in your home and do the same thing.

You may be tempted to skip this activity. Please don’t! Research has proven the power of mental rehearsal— for athletes, musicians, and the rest of us. This important step primes your brain for achieving goals and staying focused on your vision.

Walk Through Your House and Take Notes

Now you’re going to physically go through your home. Take as much time as you need with this step. Remember— the goal is long term, sustainable changes. 

Have a notebook with you, with separate pages for each room. As you walk through, stand in each room. Take note of what you see, and answer the following questions:

  • What do you like about the room? 
  • How much clutter is there? 
  • Is there enough storage space in each room?
  • If not, could items be moved or donated?
  • Is it easy to focus in each room?
  • Are there too many knick knacks or other unnecessary items?
  • Does every item in this room bring me joy?

Take good notes. If you space this task out over time, you can also come back to your notes and add more, as you notice what each room needs.

Declutter, One Room at a Time

Hurrah! Now it’s time to declutter. I just know that you’re going to feel happier and healthier in your home when you accomplish this goal.

I like a hybrid approach when it comes to tidying— going through room by room and using the KonMari method of tidying by category. This helps to avoid overwhelm. Remember you’re developing long-term strategies to keep your home organized!

Here are the categories to think about:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Miscellaneous Items
  • Sentimental Items
  • Pantry items
  • Cookware
  • Toys
  • Any other category that fits your home’s needs (such as sports equipment, art supplies, etc.)

For each item, determine if it’s truly important to your or a family member. Does it spark joy? If yes, keep it and find a place to keep it organized. You might need to shift furniture around or clear closets to suit each room’s needs. Make sure to refer to your notes when you do this. 

Keep Your Home Organized With Weekly Tidying

Congratulations! You’ve achieved your decluttering goals and taken steps to improve your mental and physical health. And the health of your home!

Once you’ve accomplished such an important goal, the work of keeping your home organized should be much easier. Spend a few minutes every week to pick up any items that may have gone astray and assign family members their own tidying tasks. The habits you’ve developed by following the above steps should be with you for years. You should be proud of your commitment to your health and your home.

March 05, 2024 — admin