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Ten reasons why decluttering your home can change your life for the better

With cooler weather approaching, most of us will be spending more time indoors. Enjoying the coziness of your home when it's cold and gray outside is one of life's little pleasures, yet at the same time your place can often feel so full of stuff that you can't completely relax.

We at Bright Side have written before about how to declutter your home, but we felt it was worth exploring further to find out just how much of a positive effect this can have on your life. Here are ten reasons why decluttering can serve as excellent therapy for both your mind and body.

1. A cluttered home can seriously affect your health

Let's start by looking at the other side of the coin - why it's bad to have a cluttered home. It turns out that the negative effects of clutter can be far more serious than you might think. Excess stuff can have an impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Among other things, it can cause anxiety, impair your sleep, reduce your focus, and increase your oxidative stress. That's an unpleasant combination of things you want to avoid.

2. Decluttering will cleanse your mind

If your home is in turmoil, it probably reflects the chaos in your subconscious mind, impairing your ability to remain focused. Clutter also limits your ability to process information. Decluttering your physical space can help you declutter your mind. This often results in a cleansing experience, where you feel lighter and have more room to breathe.

As you begin to detach from material possessions and place more importance on people and experiences, you will sense a feeling of freedom which can become addictive.

3. It reduces stress and anxiety

Living in a cluttered space can be mentally draining because it’s almost impossible to ignore tasks that are left unfinished. This creates constant low-level stress, which can deplete us of energy, generate feelings of being overwhelmed, and even impair our immune system over time.

Stress and anxiety can be caused by a number of things, and decluttering your home isn't the only thing you should be doing to fight these problems. But even if it helps a little, it is something you definitely need to consider trying.

4. Decluttering improves the functioning of your digestive system

Organizing your space can result in the disappearance of symptoms like bloating, reflux, poor digestion, and inflammation.This can be attributed to the gut-brain connection: as your stress levels decrease and your mind becomes less cluttered, your body has more energy and less oxidative stress. Your detoxification processes function well, and your microflora is in balance - all those lovely nutrients you’re putting into your body are absorbed and delivered to the right place. Your antioxidant protection will also then improve.

5. Decluttering helps get rid of harmful pathogens in your home

Cluttered homes also allow for the buildup of dust, dirt, pet hair, and mold. The pathogens and toxins contained in these things can be a disaster to our health, causing allergies, respiratory conditions, inflammation, oxidative stress, and, eventually, chronic illness. You may not even realize you're suffering from the effects of these allergens until you clean out your environment.

6. You'll have more time

One study carried out by the National Association of Professional Organizers calculated that the average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items. So a bit of serious cleaning could literally give you back your life! Another study by the National Soap and Detergent Association estimates that getting rid of clutter can eliminate up to 40% of housework.

7. It can strengthen friendships

A survey by Rubbermaid indicates that half of homeowners wouldn't invite their friends to their homes because they were embarrassed by the amount of clutter they had. The same survey showed that 16% of moms with at least three children didn't let them invite friends over because their homes were too full of junk. That's a whole lot of meaningful time spent with friends lost, all because people find it too daunting to clear out their homes.

8. You can improve your sex life

Hard to believe, but apparently true. One study found that when relationships are strained due to arguments over such things as cluttered spaces, the disorganization ends up affecting your life more than it should. Conflicts of this kind can have an adverse effect on your sex life.

9. Clutter can make you feel permanently tired

A Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study found that people with a cluttered home experienced increased exhaustion as a result of expanding mental energy on the stress that's caused by a messy environment. Plus, since mess makes it harder to focus and process information, you have to try harder and expend more energy to do everyday tasks.

10. Clutter negatively impacts your decision-making skills

That same study from Princeton University explains that the awareness and annoyance of existing clutter will wear down your mental state. This can make you more likely to become frustrated, and you might make decisions differently than when you have a clear head.