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It’s often helpful to shrug off long-held norms when setting out to better ourselves. Going to a prestigious university isn’t best choice for everyone, for example, and some of our ideas about the best ways to exercise may be just as outdated.

One norm that does actually turn out to be true is the notion that clutter can negatively affect our daily lives. Clutter is known to cause stress and is closely tied to other unhelpful habits and routines, including procrastination.

There are actually some fantastic benefits that come from getting rid of clutter. It doesn’t matter if you keep a neat room or have to step over piles of things just to get to your desk, tidying can be beneficial to both your mental and physical health. Below are just a few of the ways that decluttering can help you lead a better, happier life.

Decluttering Lowers Stress

When you get home and open your door, you probably see all sorts of things you keep out even though you don’t need them all the time — clothing, shoes, books, etc. At the same time, there are probably plenty of things you need but can never seem to find. Each of these situations lead to frustration in their own way, which raises your blood pressure, increases anxiety, and just makes you feel bad.

Whether you realize it or not, it’s the lack of organization that’s causing your stress. By decluttering you will be able to get organized so that things you don’t always need aren’t getting in the way, and things you do need are readily available. This reduces the amount of thought and effort you have to put into daily tasks, cutting the amount of stress you would build up throughout a normal day.

Clean Up, Save Money

Clutter can result from many things, but one is shopping — especially online. It’s so much fun to browse the internet, and so easy to buy things that will show up at your door a few days later. Ultimately, though, the convenience of online shopping is a big cause of extra spending and needless clutter. Thoughtlessly buying wastes financial resources while increasing the amount of things you need to keep organized.

It’s for these reasons that author and “Tidying Up” guru Marie Kondo points out that decluttering can save you money (and even make you healthier). Kondo’s message has caught on as something of a global phenomenon in recent years, as many have discovered that getting out of the practice of accumulating things amounts to less spending and a better sense of wellbeing.

Shed False Emotional Attachments

One issue a lot of people have with decluttering is that they value the things making up the clutter. The book “Decluttering At The Speed Of Life” by Dana K. White describes our attachments to clutter and stuff as “paralyzing” emotional attachments, which is a helpful way to think about them. Developing these attachments leads us to spend too much mental energy on things that, once gone, prove never to have mattered.

Our things take up too much of our emotional bandwidth and time, but when we declutter, we rid ourselves of these false emotional attachments and free up more mental energy for what actually matters.

Increase Decision-Making Skills

When you go about the process of decluttering, you improve your problem-solving skills: you look at the things you have, where things need to be, how much space you have, and the necessary steps you will need to take to organize (or reduce) your belongings. To get everything done you will plan, think about the logical steps, and make the decisions to keep or dispose of each individual item. Once you accomplish this successfully, you will naturally feel better about yourself and gain confidence in your ability to solve problems generally.

As someone with a history of holding onto things a little too long (for no apparent reason), I was, until about a year ago, comfortable in my own clutter. Thanks in large part to the Kondo phenomenon, I finally decided to give decluttering a shot. I threw out and donated countless things I didn’t need, got rid of 60% of my wardrobe, and organized the things that remained more clearly. And I have to say, the benefits are real. My life hasn’t transformed entirely, but everything feels a little simpler — like little burdens I never knew about have been lifted.

It’s surprisingly easy to get started with decluttering your life. Really, you can start by cleaning your room and seeing what kind of change that brings to your mental state. Trust me, it works wonders!

Written by Gwen Hayes for universalowl.com