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Why decluttering is good for the mind and soul

5 reasons to drop everything and start tidying 

By Jenny Ringland

I’m married to a builder whose passion is renovating, and so every 18 months or so we move house. It never gets easier and I don’t find it fun. Because with listing your home for sale, comes a barrage of open homes that require you to present a place that doesn’t actually look lived in. Photo frames are removed, beds made with military precision and you are forced to get rid of all those random items that get absentmindedly placed on tables or benchtops with the aim of putting them away later (read: sit there for the next three months). It’s a huge undertaking, especially with three young children oblivious of my need to reach display home status. But here’s what I have learned:

1. It reduces your mental load

Finally removing all those random items – everything from a tupperware container full of craft beads that had been sitting on the kitchen table for weeks, through to the pile of bills that sat on the kitchen bench – has made me feel lighter because they are no longer on my mental to-do list.

2. It enforces discipline

Two weeks of open homes was enough time to form a habit of tidying. The philosophy of a place for everything and everything in its place was enforced. With a reoccuring open home deadline I had no choice but to actually put everything away after use. There was simply no window for putting items away later.

3. It’s easier to clean

With less on display, it’s easier to get motivated to clean the house. There are no mental barriers that exist around tidying first. Why? Simple, the house is already tidy.

4. Discovering lost treasures

Once you start decluttering you often find items you forgot you had, for example I found a diary from 2004 that sent me on a nostalgic trip remembering things I hadn’t thought of in years.

5. Decluttering is invigorating 

Once I got started it felt good to be making decisions about where things should go, and whether to discard or keep. I started to feel motivated to tick other things off my to-do list. Maybe Marie Kondo is really onto something! 

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