Skip to main content.

Five Clutter-Busting Habits to Incorporate Now

Posted January 13, 2023 by Jen Yates, MS, Manager, Health & Wellness and Provider Engagement

Woman in front of blue background

With winter in full swing, it’s a great time to focus your energy indoors to declutter your home. Getting rid of excess possessions and organizing your space can improve your mental health, add value to your home and give you the room you need to do the things you love.

A messy, unorganized house can feel overwhelming. In fact, clutter has been shown to have a negative impact on stress levels, productivity and health by making it difficult to focus and relax.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, decluttering also is a great way to help you let go of the grief and move forward.

What’s more, decluttering your home is important for safety and fall prevention, especially as you age. Clutter poses a danger to older adults with poor vision, balance and slower response times.

One out of four adults over the age of 65 fall each year, making it the leading cause of injury for this age group, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are many health and safety benefits to organizing and tidying your home. So this year, why not make it your goal to declutter your home by following SummaCare’s five clutter-busting habits? It doesn’t have to be an all-consuming process. Start small and work your way room by room until you’ve reached your goal of an organized, peaceful and safe home.

Address any underlying causes

First, ask yourself this question, “Why is my home cluttered?” Do you fear letting go of things? Do you have an unhealthy shopping habit, which could be masking a mental health issue? Have you recently lost a loved one?

Maybe the answer is simple: you’ve slowly filled your home over many years and it’s time to declutter. But, if you think there could be an underlying issue, talk to your primary care provider about your concerns. Together, you can put together strategies to address the problem or your provider can refer you to a mental health specialist, if necessary.

Stop the incoming flow of stuff

If you want to declutter your home, you have to stop the constant flow of stuff coming in. One way to do that is create a detailed spending budget for both the things you need and want. It can help trim unnecessary purchases you might be making.

In addition, make a list of what you need before you head to the store and stick to it to help you cut down on impulse buys.

If nothing else, follow the “one in, one out” rule. If one item comes in, another must go out to help keep clutter in check.

Create a cleanup plan

Start small and set an achievable goal: one room, one small space or even one shelf at a time. Remember to pace yourself. Decluttering can be very stressful if you try to take on too much at once. Start where you know you’ll have immediate success and build upon that.

While decluttering, organize your things into categories, such as keep, sell, donate and trash. For larger items, like furniture or items of value, try selling them online or setting up a yard sale. Call local churches or charities to see if they’re in need of anything before donating your items to Goodwill, for example. Knowing that your things are going to help someone else allows you to release them with purpose. 

Ask for help

If getting started is the hardest part, ask a family member or close friend to help you sort through all the clutter. Another person may have a different perspective and can help you make progress toward your goal.

Asking for help and support is especially important if you need to declutter after the loss of a loved one. Going through their things can bring about many difficult emotions; it’s helpful to have someone to talk you through your emotions who may not have your same attachment to the possessions.

Make it a regular practice

Decluttering should be ongoing. Set attainable goals to keep things from cluttering your space once again. It can be as simple as setting aside 10 to 15 minutes each day to put away stray items.

To help prevent clutter from building back up, give everything a home and make it a habit to follow this rule: “Don’t put it down, put it away!” If you find something doesn’t have a home, it’s time to get rid of it.

By putting these steps into practice, you’ll get your home back on track perhaps by the time spring rolls around. You may even find decluttering your home is just the answer you are looking for to live a happy, healthy — and safer — life.