Decluttering: the way to a simple living

Home is our paradise. Regardless of the size of the home, we like it to be clean and tidy.

A decluttered living space is healthy for both mind and body. Researchers have identified a direct link between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter.

This article is about how decluttering enhances simple living.

 What is decluttering?

Simply, decluttering means removing clutter in your home, workspace, garden, or any other area that is overcrowded with things you do not use.

 Why decluttering is important?

As human beings, we are in the process of purchasing things. Among the purchases, some items are actual needs and some items are likes or “just in case” items.

Over the years, all these bits and pieces keep accumulating. However, the confines of our homes demand us to keep things that are essential for our living.

Similarly, we might not get the chance to live in the same place for a long time. If we need to shift, it is easy to carry less stuff to the new place.

According to Dr. Robert London, a New York City-based mental health professional, clutter leads to anxiety, embarrassment, family stress…when you learn the problem and learn to throw things away, you feel better.

Therefore, decluttering makes us happy, comfortable, and makes our lives easy.

What are the benefits of decluttering?

  • Decluttering allows us to spend quality time such as doing things that we would love to do. You do not have to spend the weekend for washing and cleaning if you manage to keep a mess-free house.
  • Clutter avoids the clarity of mind. If you do not keep everyday items in a designated place, you have to spend time unnecessarily finding those items.
  • Decluttering brings joy to the mind. As we sort out things, throw away items that we no longer use, there would be a feeling of relief and happiness arise in the mind.
  • Decluttering frees up a lot of space. If we are in the habit of checking on items to see if we can do away with them, we can have free space inside home.

Which areas need decluttering?

If you find any overcrowded place in your home or workspace, start cleaning and tidying them up.

Start small such as cleaning your handbag or shoe rack to get a start.

As you develop the habit of decluttering areas, you will get the motivation to keep the surroundings nice and clean.

Where to begin?

You can work on a section by section to see the items that you cannot do away with. If you have not used an item for the past 2-3 years, chances are you might never use them.

Take 10 minutes every day to cover one messy area. For example, if you decide to declutter a section of your wardrobe, just do an evaluation to see if an item is a keep or no.

You may find some clothes sit in the wardrobe for years, but you might not be aware of their existence.

Get the area decluttered completely and feel the joy of the clutter-free space.

Gradually, you can expand the project to the kitchen, living area, etc.

Is it hard to let go the clutter?

A lot of us would like to have a clear living space. However, there is a problem of letting go. Clutter is not only about having many items, but also it has strings of attachment to your past memories.

Your birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, etc. always make you feel happy.

Additionally, we have a lot of “just in case” items in our places. We keep these items thinking we might need them someday.

Consequently, it is very difficult to let go of our belongings.

Therefore, first, we should get rid of the fear of decluttering.

Decluttering and mindfulness

Clutter-free space brings joy to your mind. A lot of us keep past memories in our minds. Past memories bar us from living in the present moment.

We need to declutter our physical environment first. That will help declutter our minds as well.

The concept of APFE/EIIP meaning, a place for everything, and everything is in its place allows you to find peaceful heaven.

That is the key to start your mindfulness journey.

How decluttering encourages donations?

As you declutter, you might wonder what to do with this that you no longer use, but are still in good condition.

The simple answer is “donate.” There are many people out there who will be benefitted from things that you remove.

Generally, I am in the habit of re-gifting items that I receive to someone who will be more benefitted. It is easy to donate as soon as you receive an item because you have been living without that item so far.

For more details, read Can generosity be taught?

Final Thoughts

On a final note, decluttering is a must on a frequent basis. It allows us to think about what is really necessary for living and make life simple. Otherwise, we will be in the habit of buying stuff that we see. Not only buying but it also generates worry in case if we are not able to buy stuff.

Once you realize what objects actually matters to you, it is easy to get rid of unwanted things.

This process may take days or months depending on how much time you can spend decluttering. However, the end result is rewarding and material decluttering ultimately directs you toward mental decluttering.

Photo by Nadin Mario on Unsplash


Rathsara (Sara) is an attorney-at-law who holds a Diploma in Buddhist Studies in ITBMU. She has engaged in community service in Sri Lanka and the United States helping many individuals. She is interested in reading, writing, and researching areas related to mindfulness. Inspired by spiritually developed individuals around the globe, Rathsara is keen to learn and practice mind-developing techniques. In the meantime, she would like to share her experience and knowledge for the well-being of others.

Recent Posts