Clutter is anything that you don’t like, use, or need. But clutter goes way beyond a crammed full closet. Whether it’s material, social or emotional, in our modern jam-packed existence, it can feel as though there isn’t an area of life that escapes the clasp of clutter. While this not only impacts on our own individual health and happiness, it may also be putting strain on your relationships with others.
More minimalist living could be the key to a harmonic home life...
Studies show that having less cluttered, cleaner and more organized homes reduces stress, makes you happier and increases your ability to concentrate. It doesn’t take a great leap to see how that can support a more conflict free home environment. Nevermind the end result, even the act of cleaning itself is apparently de-stressing, with one study finding washing the dishes is a significant stress buster.
Our brains are often flooded with stimulation, so a more minimalist and ordered environment helps to soothe the sensory overload. When we reorganize and remove what we don’t need, we sleep better, have less chores and more time. Consumerism tempts us with the promise of what a new product can bring to our life. By consciously drawing our attention away from the material world, we can focus on what, and who, is really of true value. You can experiment by creating “spending free” days to see for yourself how it changes the dynamic of the time you spend with loved ones.
Let go of FOMO and learn to say no!
Thanks to social media it’s easier to stay in touch with a wide range of our peers than ever before, with some pretty wonderful consequences. On the flip side, quantity can begin to take over quality when it comes to the relationships we’re creating and keeping in our lives.
While Facebook may have you believe otherwise, research suggests our brains only have room for up to 5 meaningful relationships at a time, and no more than 150 people in our entire social sphere. The fear of missing out is real, with one study reporting three quarters of young adults have experienced this phenomenon. Yet the pressure to be constantly connected may also be taking its toll on the friendships you value the most. It’s simple math, there is only so much of your time and attention to go around.
A regular social declutter can help ensure that you're not being spread too thinly. Consciously consider your social contacts, don’t be afraid to say no to invitations, and allow yourself to move on from certain friendships that no longer work for you.
Ditch the dead weight: Unpack emotional baggage.
Whether it’s simply releasing the negative energy of a bad day, or a far deeper trauma that you’ve perhaps been carrying around for many years, we’ve all got some emotional clutter to unpack. Old emotional baggage carried forward often negatively impacts on current relationships. Emotional clutter is the brains version of living inside a hoarder’s house. Clearing out and putting down, rather than carrying with us, the weight of the past makes us less stressed, less volatile and more patient. Using tools such as journaling, exercise, counseling, meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you to process and release the impact of negative emotions.
Don’t wait for the seasons to change to start a transformative spring clean. Declutter your home, social life and emotions to lighten your load and improve your relationships at the same time.