Less Clutter Outside, Less Clutter Inside

Tidying up helps your home do what it should: take care of your whole being

Stuff. There’s just so much of it. Making a home your own isn’t just about the furniture, the paint colors, or the lighting; it’s about finding places for all your endless piles of stuff. And all that stuff inevitably leads to clutter. That’s why things like downsizing and tidying-as-therapy are becoming such popular topics of conversation. Everyone digging into Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix right now knows exactly what I mean; that amazing woman has binge-watchers everywhere dumping their closets onto the floor and going through their clothing piece by piece, and I could not be any more thrilled. Everybody is talking about how great they feel looking at their now-organized spaces and I’m all like:

What is it about an uncluttered home that makes me happy? I’m not quite sure. It’s not always a joy putting in the work to maintain that cleanliness, but when that work is finished, I’m always glad I took the time to put the laundry away, clean the dishes, and fold my many throw blankets, having each little bit of stuff in its proper home. From a practical standpoint, it’s obvious enough; when things are put away, there’s less work to be done. Less work in the way of starting a recipe in the kitchen or making space for yoga in the living room. A home that’s clean is a home that’s ready, both for yourself and for visitors and frankly can do a lot when it comes to taking care of your emotional well-being. But, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

For me, clutter equals anxiety. Am I anxious because I’ve made a mess, or do I make a mess because I’m anxious? It’s a “chicken or the egg” situation, for sure, but I’ve realized that the answer doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that when the exterior is calm, the interior follows. I’d be far from the first person to say that uncluttering your space helps to unclutter your mind, but I can confirm that it’s absolutely true for me, and for many others. Sitting down, finally, on my couch, once I’ve taken care of the mess, it always lets me let out a great big sigh of relief. When every piece of clutter is in its proper home, I can feel comfortable in my home.

And that’s, I think, the point of focusing on the fight against all that stuff: your house, condo, or apartment can and should be more than just a place where you live. Your home should be a place that takes care of you, inside and out. It’s not just about the extra space in your closet you get from donating old clothing, it’s about the fact that being in that closet will make you feel better. Life is filled with all these tiny little stress points: tracking down the missing tiny AppleTV remote that seems to wander off on its own, sifting through daunting piles of old bills or paperwork, rummaging around in junk drawers for that one thing you know you have but can’t find. Getting a handle on clutter is about keeping all of those little moments, those little pin-pricks of life, out of your home, so that it can be a place of peace and self-care.

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