A Cluttered Home Leads To A Cluttered Mind — Here’s How To Clear Out Both

A Cluttered Home Leads To A Cluttered Mind — Here’s How To Clear Out Both iStock/Liudmila Chernetska

Admittedly, this is probably something your mom told you growing up: A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. While it may have seemed like a ploy to get you to finally clean your room, there’s plenty of scientific truth to the saying. A study from ULCA found that women who have “a high density of household objects” in their house also have higher cortisol levels, which means higher stress levels. While men aren’t quite as impacted, they don’t escape the effects of clutter completely. And given that we spend 85% of our lives indoors (shocking, I know!), we could do with those indoor spaces being as tidy as possible.

If you want to declutter your home, here are some things you can do to clean up your space — and your mind.

  1. Add some houseplants. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that taking care of plants has a calming effect, and if you’re looking to declutter your mind, this is extra useful. It also gives you an increased attention span and productivity levels, so if you work from home, this is a plus. On a more aesthetic level, houseplants add a splash of color to your living space and make it seem more relaxed and homey. Convinced yet?
  2. Put things away after you use them. This seems like a simple task and it is. However, it’s also a useful one. Clutter can get the better of us without our realizing when we regularly use things and leave them lying there when we’re finish rather than putting them back where they belong. Whether it’s a cookbook from the bookshelf or the iron to get the wrinkles out of your work shirt, return items to their rightful place to help avoid a cluttered home and a cluttered mind.
  3. Start dusting. I’ve lived in multiple apartments and houses in various states and different countries over the years, and if there’s one thing that was consistent among them all, it was dust. It accumulates in all seasons (though in sunny, dry weather even more) and you need to dust regularly to reduce its presence in your home. While using a dry feather duster used to be the norm, wet dusting has been proven to be more effective as it actually picks dust particles up rather than just moving them around. The more clutter you have, the more dust it will pick up, as well. That means you need to take care to clean more carefully (as well as getting rid of stuff you don’t need).
  4. Open a window. Fresh air does a world of good. Sitting in a stuffy living space with stale air is no good – you need to breathe and to let your place air out. While opening a window may not be particularly inviting in the winter months, it’s still worth doing even for an hour to let some air circulate – just close the door of the room to keep the cold out of the rest of your place. Once spring comes, keep your windows open more often to improve the air quality in your home.
  5. Get rid of what you don’t use. Look, I get the impetus to hang onto pretty much everything ever. I’m a bit of a hoarder too. However, nothing feels better than de-cluttering a bit by bagging up old clothes, shoes, books, etc. that you don’t use anymore to be donated. Not only does it help those in need, but it also clears up space in your house, which feels really refreshing. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t so much as looked at an item in the last six months, you won’t miss it if it’s gone.
  6. Light a candle. Aromatherapy is really effective for making you feel more chill, and a scented candle can really help in this regard. They come in all different types of frangrances, from fresh to floral and everything in between, and they can really lift your mood. Just be sure to choose a soy wax-based candle as it’s all natural and has no harmful ingredients.
  7. Invest in some storage and organization essentials. Hitting up The Container Store for some boxes, stacked drawers, etc. can really help reduce clutter in your physical living space as well as your mind. If there are certain items you just can’t part with or need for work or a hobby – think art supplies, file folders, etc. – getting some storage solutions in place can help keep your items neat and tidy rather than hanging out all over the place.
  8. Let the light in. In addition to opening the windows more often to improve air quality, give your home and yourself some all-important Vitamin D by lifting the blinds/pulling back the curtains and letting the sun shine in. It strengthens your immune system, improves your sleep, and has a whole host of other health benefits that are well worth taking advantage of. Plus, who wants to sit in a dark, drab space all day? Not you!
Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.