Our homes act as anchors for our well-being. It's why coming home to a clean apartment feels like a ton of bricks is lifted from your shoulders or why seeing a pile of laundry can add pressure. The effects of a chaotic and cluttered home just wreak havoc on your mental health. Worst of all, it can feel almost impossible to know where to start when creating a 'cleaner' living space. Our decluttering guide looks towards feng shui and the practice of creating pockets of good energy to create happier, more purposeful homes.
How Does Clutter Affect Our Brains?
Sure, clutter might feel annoying, but many don't recognise the toll it can take on our mental and physical health. At our core, we are visual creatures, our eyes send signals to the brain, so naturally, too much stimulus and we essentially go into overload. One study published in Current Psychology found a substantial link between procrastination and clutter problems in all age groups.
Clutter in the home or office essentially signals that there is work to be done, and therefore we can't possibly relax. Perhaps you have a desk piled high with papers or trinkets; this can make it hard to focus and more easily distracted. You may find that you are more productive in specific settings, where more neutral tones are used, rather than a mix of bright colours.
In more severe cases, clutter can lead to shame and depression, making it harder to resolve the matter. The truth is, it's far easier to have an untidy home nowadays. It's obvious when you consider that society teaches us to want more and more often. The average person is fighting a losing battle when they associate quick purchases with long term happiness, which has the opposite effect because we find there is always something newer, shinier, and more impressive around the corner.
Understanding What Clutter Is
Don't throw away the contents of your home all at once! A clutter-free home means something different to everyone. Knowing how and what affects you is the key. While some gravitate towards brightly patterned interiors with bold embellishments, others find comfort in pared-down spaces.
Clutter also shouldn't merely be defined by dirty dishes in the sink. It can be the emotional baggage we carry or the digital clutter that sits in our inboxes. They are all small but powerful contributing factors. When it comes to building a better state of mind, you may find the clutter haunting you most exists in bad habits you can't escape, resentments from your past or a sentimental dress that no longer fits you.
While sorting through these things takes more work, diligence, and introspection, starting with your immediate surroundings can put you on the right path and headspace to tackle the more cerebral problems. The physical clutter and blueprint of your home can free your mind, create solace and allow for a more thoughtful pace of living.
The Feng Shui Approach To Decluttering
Feng shui leans on the idea that the physical placement or orientation of objects and materials can create a good flow of energy in your life. While it is an ancient technique, it is efficient in creating an organisational system that appeals to our brain's sensibilities. When decluttering with feng shui, it is crucial to bring about equilibrium and peace between your home and yourself. The two can never be at odds. In a way, it is an exercise to understand what feels best to you.
One of the cornerstones of feng shui is using the commanding position to create a focal point in the room. This is often the place where you would spend the majority of your time in the room, so it should be a beacon for calm. For example, the desk is the commanding position of the home office, the bedroom's commanding position in the bed and the stove is the commanding position in the kitchen. These items are best placed furthest from the door in a diagonal position.
Take particular care of these areas as they represent facets of your life. Your bed is a manifestation of you, the desk of your career, and the stove is your nourishment. If your stove area is messy, you cannot properly nourish yourself, the same goes for your desk and bed. Tackle these areas first and ensure they are kept manageable so good energy can flow.
Another vital thing to consider is your entrance; as this is the first impression that hits you as you enter your home, removing any obstacles to entry is vital. This allows good energy to flow, which extends to having a designated place to put your keys or jacket, so it doesn't inevitably get tossed to the side. It is paramount that everything in your home also has a home for itself. If you come across broken things, they should also be repaired or discarded, as this can bring be a burden on your mind.
Things To Consider When Decluttering Your Home
No matter the state of your home, there are always items lingering that may be obstacle to building a happier home. It is important to remember there is no such thing as a perfectly decluttered home, but it is an ongoing pursuit throughout life. When going about your home or on a mission to declutter, here are some things to ask yourself:
● Does this serve me anymore?
● Does it have a place to live?
● Does this have sentimental value?
● Can this be fixed?
● Does this create more stress or feelings of anxiety?
● Do I use this often?
● Can this be donated?
Decluttering is about creating long-term habits like small daily cleaning tasks. It could be as simple as washing the dishes after dinner or picking a day each year where you take stock of your home. Start small and build from there. Giving items away can also be a powerful tool for happiness, it is the kind of joy that exists long past purchasing new items. It can also help to implement a more minimal interior design approach like Japandi, which embraces a simple but cosy aura. This sets the tone for your home and can motivate you to create consistency.
Consuming less and more thoughtfully is the ultimate road to a decluttered home that brings you peace of mind. It's important to work with what you have, but when the time comes for new furniture, it is naturally always better to invest in homeware that you can use throughout life. Not pieces that simply work for a brief moment in time.
“Feng Shui is the perfect tool for breaking vicious circles.” ― Stefan Emunds, Feng Shui 101 Easy And Fun: The World of Feng Shui at your Finger Tips.