Hidden benefits of uncluttering

Here at Unclutterer we espouse the clutter-free lifestyle. The reasons are mostly obvious: a clean, tidy home means less time is spent searching for things, knowing what you actually own, etc.

In this post, I want to look at the less obvious benefits of uncluttering. These less obvious advantages are just as powerful as those listed above. Let’s get started with time. Time, not money, is the only valuable commodity we have. Would you rather lose ten dollars or ten years? Without time, nothing else has value, so the wise person treats it as precious.

Finish small tasks right away. Schedule time to spend on big tasks and stick to it. Clean as you go. Adopt a calendar/planner that fits your lifestyle and use a productivity system you trust. You’ll spend less time on household chores, and more time with family and friends.

Next, and this is a rather specific example but bear with me. Being uncluttered means that unexpected visitors do not elicit a stressful frenzy of straightening up. It might not happen often, but when that unannounced guest is en route to your door, a few minutes of tidying is all that is needed to make the house presentable. Compare that to the frenzy of straightening a cluttered house.

Before I continue, an important note. A working home is not a museum. As I said in 2015:

“These are the years spent in the trenches. The years where my wife and I argue over who gets to be the one to grocery shop, because grocery shopping means you get 25 minutes to yourself. If guests arrive and there’s a stack of papers on a table somewhere or library books strewn about or if our dear visitors have to witness a round of my favorite 7:38 a.m. game, ‘Where Are Your Clean Socks And Why Must We Go Through This Every Blessed Day?’, Fine.

The people who are nice enough to travel and spend money just to be in our company understand where we are at this stage in our lives. They love us, and know that transferring the breakfast cereal into labeled Tupperware containers is just under ‘jewel-encrusted, heated driveway’ on our list of current priorities.”

It’s completely unreasonable, in my opinion, to live in a clutter-free home 24/7/365. That’s not what I’m proposing. Just make an effort to tidy as you go to save some stress.

Next, your family will catch the uncluttering bug. I know, that sounds crazy. I have two teenagers whose favorite activities include sleeping, eating and playing video games. (Perhaps you’re familiar with this scenario.) If the house is routinely tidy, they won’t like it when it isn’t. In fact, they’ll start to organize to keep things on an even, tidy keel. I’ve seen it happen and it’s glorious.

When the tidying starts to happen consistently, you’ll feel more creative. This one is backed by science. Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute demonstrated that a cluttered environment restricts one’s ability to focus. Having trouble finishing that novel or getting some work done? A cluttered desk or office could be a contributing factor.

Lastly, you’ll likely get more sleep. A sleep study conducted in 2015 showed that people who routinely sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have sleep disturbances and get less restful sleep than counterparts in tidy rooms. Who doesn’t want better sleep? I sure do.

There you have a few less obvious benefits to pursuing the uncluttered lifestyle. If you’ve discovered any hidden benefits to being uncluttered, please share them with readers in the comments below.

4 Comments for “Hidden benefits of uncluttering”

  1. posted by Britta on

    Another thought on hidden benefits: it can make you feel more confident. Knowing your house is always in good shape, learning to let go of the false security that keeping stuff offers (might need it again), not feeling like you are just not good enough because your house looks unorganized. How do you think about it? Do you think decluttering and organizing has this confidence-building power (sorry for my less than perfect english and greetings from Germany)

  2. posted by Dorothy on

    “It’s completely unreasonable, in my opinion, to live in a clutter-free home 24/7/365. ”

    That seems like an odd thing to write in this space. And I think you’re mistaken. You seem to conflate clutter with untidiness. While they may be related they aren’t the same thing.

    If your house is “sometimes” cluttered, how can it be “sometimes” clutter p-free. A home may be temporarily a bit untidy, but if it’s relatively clutter-free, if there’s a place for everything, then putting everything back in its place is quick and easy.

    The problem for most people is twofold: too much stuff and a lack of designated places for belongings. If you solve these two issues, tidying up ceases to be a problem.

  3. posted by Mixinitaly on

    Britta, your English is perfect and your comment is great as well. Uncluttering makes me find things easier and makes home process run more smoothly, which in turn makes me calmer and more able to concentrate on activities and enjoy time with my family.
    I like to think of the “Broken Window Theory” and as David states, once things start falling apart around you, people tend to get lazy and let things go. Keeping stuff organized and neatly put away makes others want to do the same. Thanks Unclutterer!

  4. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Decluttering deprives dust mites of their hiding places and improves health. In humid climates, it provides fewer places for mold and mildew to grow. If you’ve ever had the experience of bringing a bag of onions home and having a roach crawl out of it ( yuk!), decluttering enables you to squash the little #%^* before it finds a hiding place. Clutter holds malodors, it has to be heated and cooled at our expense, and all of this is costly.

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