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Can organising your home can improve your health?

If your home—or your mind—is starting to feel a little crowded, it could be time to optimise your home by decluttering and organising

According to professional organiser Regina Lark in the LA Times, the average home contains 300,000 objects. This could be an issue, because psychologists have suggested a link between home clutter and psychological problems.

Here is everything you need to know.

Why decluttering helps

Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of organising and decluttering your home. Excess items in our immediate environment seem to interfere with our ability to focus on tasks, as well as the brain’s ability to process information. This can make us less productive and less creative. It can also interfere with our sleep quality and potentially affect our mood. It’s not just the quantity of junk in our home that matters, either. Particular items might be having an impact on our emotions, especially if there is a history or meaning behind them.

The 30-day minimalism game

Some find it fun, and some find it painful. Either way, the 30-day minimalism game is a sure-fire way to get rid of enormous amounts of clutter. The rules are simple: on day one, you get rid of one item from your home. On day two, you get rid of two items. And so on, until the 30th day, where you get rid of 30 items. That will amount to 564 items in total. Of course, they have to be actual possessions, not wrappers or other trash. As you progress, keep revisiting items you decided to keep earlier in the month, and you might find it easier to let go of them after a little time has passed.

Daily declutter sweeps

Every day, pick a room and conduct a 15-minute clutter sweep. Take a bin, box, or other container into the room and fill it with any item that doesn’t belong in that room. Next, go around the room organising, tidying, and putting items in their proper place. Finally, put everything in the tub back where it belongs. Yes, it’s a chore. Some days, you won’t want to do it. But clutter attracts clutter. If you don’t stay on top of it, you’ll end up with a larger mess that will take a much longer time to organise. Daily 15-minute sweeps might be annoying, but they will actually save you time and pain in the long run.

Restore your attention

Now you know the benefits of removing objects from your home. But there are actually some things you can put into your home that will make it more relaxing. One great choice is plants. Nature seems to have a deeply relaxing effect on the human brain, reducing stress and increasing our ability to concentrate. Psychologists call this “Attention Restoration Theory.” According to Libby Sander, Associate Professor of Business at Bond University, this effect is so pronounced that businesses with plants in their offices see reduced sick days and increases in productivity. Another option is a diffuser to fill your home with relaxing scents. These days you can even buy WiFi-compatible diffusers that you control from your phone, so you can set them off just before you get home.

Despite the dreams of minimalists, the solution to clutter is not necessarily to throw away all your possessions and live in an empty concrete box. Our possessions can provide an important link to our past, helping us remember the good times we enjoyed and the bad times we learned from.

But beyond these special items, it’s a sure bet there’s a lot of unimportant stuff filling up your house. Get rid of that and organise the rest. You’ll feel better if you do.

Alice Robertson began her career in the home organisation industry as a professional house cleaner. After cleaning and organising her clients’ homes for years, she decided to open her own home organisation business as a place to share the great cleaning and organising advice she has developed over the years.

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