How de-cluttering can provide you with the perfect environment for home working

Add plants to a space to improve your mood

Add plants to a space to improve your mood - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tidying up your home can have far reaching benefits for your health

We’ve all flicked though interior design magazines, admiring the tidy spaces and simple décor. But research suggests that when the sheer amount of stuff we live with clutters our lives, it can have a detrimental effect on us both mentally and physically.

At the extreme scale, hoarding has now been categorised as a mental health condition.

In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo calls tidying therapeutic. ‘Tidying your physical space allows you to tend to your psychological space,’ she writes. ‘When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.’

For those of us that are putting it off, it can be an overwhelming process.

Professional organiser Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised believes that there is a clear relationship between having a cluttered space and a cluttered mind. ‘Living in a cluttered space has an impact on other areas of your life,’ she says. ‘That busy space can affect your motivation, put you off going to the gym and socially people start to feel ashamed about their spaces.’

Having more stuff doesn’t necessarily make you happier. ‘It often distracts your attention from where it should be, making you jump from one task to another,’ explains Tracy. ‘It also makes it very difficult to relax both mentally and physically because you just have all these things shouting at you. It stops us being able to find what we need; we then buy duplicate items because we can’t find things, spending more money on more stuff that takes more time to manage. This constant cycle leads to anxiety.’

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Tracy believes it’s about letting things go and seeing a real value to passing it on so it can go to a new home. ‘The main reasons people hang on to things is that they think they might need them one day,’ she says. An Age UK survey revealed that 51% of adults admitted to having between one and 10 items in their wardrobe that they’ve never worn.

In feng shui, clutter can disrupt the flow of energy ‘chi’ through the home. Walk into a messy bedroom or office, and then walk into a tidy one and you can feel the difference. ‘Rooms with lots of furniture and clutter mean we tend to feel more confined with less free space and movement. In feng shui we think this influences the thinking, behaviour and outlook of the person living or working there,’ says Simon Brown of the Feng Shui Society.

So how do you create a more harmonious space?

Tracy recommends starting on a small scale. Start with a small area, empty everything out and set a time limit for 30 minutes. ‘Touch everything in that space and think whether you really need it,’ she adds.

‘It can be an emotional and exhausting process to go through, but once you have done it, you will really feel the benefits. Once people’s space is back in order it can be transformational. People then feel motivated to focus on other areas of their lives. They might do that diet they have always talked about or go for that job they want. It is almost like clutter is a barrier that has stopped them doing things.’

As people clear more space they gain more time and clarity. The knock on effect is spending less money, less stress and a calmer environment. As Tracey concludes: ‘It is about simplifying how you live so you can focus on other things.’


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