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How to Declutter Your Space During Isolation

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March 31, 2020

During a time such as this, when most of us are staying inside and getting closely acquainted with our homes, we may have discovered just how many things we’ve collected over the years! After some time, the objects you surround yourself with may start to feel like clutter. That’s when you know it is time to review your space, refresh your home, and get decluttering. And while you’re spending so much time indoors, what better time than the present?

The Effects of Clutter

Excessive clutter can drag you down psychologically and slow you down physically. As Psychology Today reports, it can make your home less of a comfortable refuge to retreat to. And right now, we need our homes to be as comfortable and welcoming to us as possible! It can also cause unhealthy eating habits and even negatively impact mental health. Research has shown that physical clutter can cause so-called “mental clutter.” This state of mind, in which it becomes more difficult to mentally prioritize information, is one of the leading causes of age-related memory loss. 

The Benefits of Decluttering

According to Deanna Cable and Tracey Sandstra—Professional Organizers and Co-Owners of A Step Up Inc.—decluttering has many positive effects. It can create positive feelings, lead to better health, and relieve stress. 

For seniors, there are even more benefits! 

  • • A decluttered living environment is a safe one. With fewer objects to catch canes or walkers on or trip over, the physical risk is much lower. 
  • • Decluttered spaces are easier to clean. As mobility and flexibility issues develop, clutter can compound cleaning issues. Having an easy-to-clean house is vital (especially now).
  • • Decluttering helps with organization, ensuring that every object has a purpose and a home. A well-organized home can help with memory issues (no more wondering where things were left) and even ease the stress of losing important things.
  • • Alleviating the aforementioned psychological effects can make for happier and healthier golden years by increasing energy, reducing anxiety, and relieving tension.
  • • Moving is much easier in a decluttered space, especially when those moves happen unexpectedly. It’s always prudent to be prepared and make the transition simpler for the friends and family that are helping seniors change their living arrangements.

On top of all of that, decluttering can make you fall in love with your home again! Here’s a note from one of A Step Up Inc.’s satisfied customers…

“Oh my goodness, I think I have a crush on my pantry!…I make excuses to go there. Truly, a bonafide crush…I couldn’t be happier.”

How to Get Started

It’s important to remember that decluttering will take time. In fact, many houses take 20-30 hours to organize fully. But just imagine how much time it took to accumulate everything! Undertaking such a big job may be both physically and emotionally taxing, so it’s important to allow yourself the patience to give this journey the consideration it requires. Take your time, go at your own pace, and remember to see it through until the end!

With these steps from Deanna and Tracey, decluttering is made easy.

  • • Set a realistic, achievable goal. Start with one drawer a day, then one cupboard a day. Taking it in increments will make the job seem much easier. Remember that kitchens and bathrooms are good places to start, as they tend to house fewer sentimental objects. You’ll be amazed by how far you get doing something small every day!
  • • Make four boxes, all with different labels: Donate, Keep, Recycle, and Trash.
  • • Take one object at a time and ask yourself questions like Do I use this? Are there duplicates? Then decide what box it goes into. If you do use it every day, it can go back where it came from. If you use it but not often (things like Christmas decorations), throw it in the Keep box. That can go into storage and out of the way. 
  • • Don’t second guess yourself! Your first instinct will most often be right.
  • • Arrange with a friend or family member to pick up your boxes and take them to the right places, and leave them outside. When they return the boxes, start the process over again!

Along the way, you may encounter objects that are impractical but sentimental. Seek out an impartial friend, and be open to their opinions. When your rooms begin to declutter, and a relieving feeling of order and calm begins to settle in, you’ll have all the more motivation to keep going! As Deanna and Tracey say, “Trust the process.”

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