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3 Reasons To Start A Declutter Habit (And How To Keep It Going!)

When was the last time you lost your keys, wallet or an important document underneath a stack of mail, paperwork or books? Over the course of our lifetimes we spend nearly 4,000 hours searching for lost items — so don’t think you are alone if you sometimes feel overwhelmed by stuff. However, just because clutter can be the status quo, that doesn’t mean we should live with it. There are many reasons why a good home decluttering can change your physical and mental health — and could even change your life.

Reason #1 You Want To Sell Your Home

Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but you know eventually you will want to sell your home. Most

Americans stay in their homes between 8 and 10 years, significantly lower than 20 to 30 years ago. Keeping your home clutter-free means you won’t have to take extra time to organize and clean up when you’re ready to put your home on the market. A clean, decluttered home allows potential buyers to imagine their lives in your house. When that image makes them happy, they are eager to learn more.

Habit Starting Tip: Keep your loose papers in decorative storage bins or baskets. That way you can quickly put them out of the way when people come over regardless of how much notice you get. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go through the bin every few weeks to manage the paperwork.

Reason #2 You Don’t Use Everything

We all know how it goes— you never used that slow cooker so you donated it to a thrift store.

Now, just a few weeks later, you find you really need it for a party you’re hosting. Purging items we don’t use is important, but what about items we might use? This is where a storage unit can come in handy. While you may not currently need two dressers or that recliner from college, chances are it will come in handy someday. Instead of putting yourself in a position to have to purchase a new one, storing these items in a climate-controlled facility can be an effective–and economical — choice. For example, in the last six months, customers spent an average of $98.86 on a self-storage unit in Loveland, Colorado. Remember, if after a year you realize you don’t need certain items, then you should give them away freely knowing they won’t be missed.

Habit Starting Tip: How do you know if you might need the item later? Start by categorizing your belongings. Items you know you no longer need can go into a donate box and the items you are unsure of can go in a different box. Keep them in a closet or the garage for a month or so. If you end up using the item once, you know it might be a good idea to store it.

Reason #3 You Need Some Mental And Physical Space

Feeling overcrowded in your home can move beyond your physical space and into your mental space. When you home is messy or cluttered, you begin to feel messy and cluttered. Studies show that cluttered and chaotic households can leave us feeling like there is nothing we can do about the never-ending mess— you can’t even find a place to start. That means you feel exhausted just looking at an unorganized area. Though no matter how often you turn away, you know it is still there, almost haunting you. This can lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. When you exist in this stressful mental state, depression and anxiety are hard to shake.

Habit Starting Tip: Tackle one room or (even just part of a room) to organize at a time. Begin with a checklist of what you need and want to occur in that room. For example, in the bedroom you may want to reduce the amount of unfolded laundry that piles up on your bed, chairs, dresser or floor. Your checklist should help you assess if you have enough closet space, hangers and drawers. Then, take a look at your process. Is laundry something you do in between other tasks so it often only gets partially done? Next, give yourself a few goals. For example, schedule an hour or two one night a week to focus on laundry from start to finish. You can reduce the amount of clothing clutter by donating the items you don’t wear as often.

If you want to feel more relaxed in your home, starting a few tidiness habits could be your key to the R&R you need. Even if none of these reasons apply to you right now, you can still benefit from following the habit of starting routines. Your home is where the heart is — so make it a happy, healthy place to live.