Declutter Your Way to Better Relationships

aw...loving older couple in matching aprons. his blue, hers red in a white brick walled kitchen, cutting vegetables.

Declutter Your Way to Better Relationships is an article about how decluttering can expand into better relationships, among many other things, including better mental and physical health.

Living in clutter can have negative effects on our relationships with others. Have you ever experienced a tug-of-war with the people you live with about getting rid of stuff?

I remember when growing up Mom would discard things and Pop, whose job it was to get trash to the dump, would remove some of Mom’s trash for safekeeping. These actions do not inspire harmony.

Examples of the ways clutter can impact our relationships

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Conflict and Tension

A minimalist and a hoarder would have a very difficult time living together under the same roof. Little more to add here!

Lack of Productivity

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Can you work surrounded by noise and chaos? I can’t. My workspace is free from any clutter. In front of me, I look out to a stunning view. This brings me joy, gratitude, and contentment because I have worked very hard to get here.

When I sit down to write, design, or create art I have a feeling like I do when I have a blank canvas in front of me. My thoughts are easily focused on the task at hand.

Emotional Distance

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Being among clutter hurts our health. Scientific studies are proving this.

Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago who studies the causes of clutter and its impact on emotional well-being was part of a research team that has shown procrastination often goes hand in hand with clutter.

People find sorting and tossing items is a task they don’t like to do so they avoid doing this.

At The University of Southern California Darby Saxbe, an assistant psychology professor and the study’s lead author, said women who don’t like clutter and live surrounded by clutter and/or incomplete home renovations start their day stressed and remain stressed all day.

a chart on a black background showing scientific symbols and formulas regarding the hormone cortisol- in white text

This is indicative of their higher levels of cortisone.

Men generally have lower levels of cortisol unless they help out doing household chores. As a result, when men engage in running households their levels of cortisol are also raised, like women.

People who dislike and live in cluttered homes find it disturbing to have to hunt and spend time finding the things they need.

The study published in Current Psychology found a substantial link between procrastination and clutter problems in all age groups. Frustration with clutter tended to increase with age. Among older adults, clutter problems were also associated with life dissatisfaction.

Focus stands for (using each of the letters) follow, one, course, until, successful. Shown on a dark green background in white text

Do you have difficulty focusing?

Clutter can be very distracting. I call it visual overload. I cannot concentrate in cluttered areas. One of the reasons I dislike shopping is that I get overwhelmed by the visual overload when I walk into a department store like Macy’s.

For the minimal amount of goods I purchase shopping online is a dream come true for me. Extra points if the website has a good filter system. Our brains can only focus on a limited amount of stimuli at a time. Being surrounded by clutter while working from home makes it much harder to think clearly.

Do you feel socially isolated?

To improve our relationships with others, it’s important to declutter our spaces. Here are some tips:

Communicate with those you live with. Tell them how you feel and work with them to create a clutter-free space.

Regardless of the condition of your home, maybe it is not as organized as you like, still invite your friends to visit. They are your friends. They love you not your home.

2 ladies standing on either side of a penciled orange line. One woman is drawing the line using a huge orange wood looking pencil as tall as she is.

Setting boundaries works well for people who struggle with clutter. Establish a routine for decluttering and stick with it.

Getting a handle on any habits of procrastination will certainly go a long way to creating peaceful relationships.

Get started decluttering today with my list of 21 Wicked Easy Decluttering Tips!

Practicing gratitude goes a very long way. Focus on the positive! Do not obsess about the negative. One step forward on the path to decluttering is a huge positive step!

By decluttering our spaces and prioritizing our relationships, we can create a positive and more rewarding social life.

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed and always a few laughs!

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