Why does decluttering make us happier?

Unpacking the impact of decluttering on our mental health and wellbeing

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Why does decluttering make us happier?

Unpacking the impact of decluttering on our mental health and wellbeing

If you are looking for an easy way to lower your stress and feel more in control of your home environment, decluttering is a good place to start. While some of us find it therapeutic and others find it dull, by getting rid of what you have in excess, such as your piles of paperwork, you can quite literally shed a mental weight. This will help to boost your mental wellbeing, leaving you feeling lighter, more refreshed, and a lot happier.

We worked with Census wide to unpack the feelings associated with decluttering paperwork, and how doing the task, although difficult to begin, is great for our mental health.

From our findings, Brits have confessed to letting their filing get out of control. Some have admitted to allowing thousands of documents mount up, as 69% find it time consuming to organise, while 35% feel an overwhelming sense of frustration. As expressed by one of our interviewees, wife and mum Lorraine, from Barnsley, “There is a literal paperweight associated with my filing. I feel burdened by the paperwork, it’s always there, but I can never get on top of it.”

The good news is that there is light at the end of the admin tunnel. With 82% of those surveyed saying they find decluttering has a positive impact on their wellbeing. It’s clear that the simple act of filing away paperwork and shedding the paperweight is a mental health booster – something which decluttering gurus, Marie Kondo and Mrs Hinch are strong advocates for, as they believe that tidying can, ultimately, transform lives.

This is something Tracey (51) from Warwickshire agrees with, as she says, “There are massive benefits to not having to sit and file, time saving is just one. I feel a huge sense of relief when my filing is done.”

Chartered Psychologist, Honey Lancaster-James sheds some light on the surprising psychological benefits of getting your affairs in order, and why the act of filing away paperwork and shedding excess paperweight is good for your mental wellbeing.

“Shedding excess paper weight and filing away only the essential and necessary paperwork in a logical and ordered manner can have real benefits for your mental wellbeing."

"This is because going through it and clearing out can give you a sense of cleansing and purging unnecessary burdens from your life more generally. Putting what remains in order, can feel liberating and much more freeing and empowering."

“Afterall, once you’ve ordered just what you need, you know that you can reach for exactly what you require if a situation arises, and you need to lay your hands on something important."

“Creating a useful and practical filing system digitally, can really help you to feel in control and supported in your life more generally. A system like this helps to not only make things accessible to you and your loved ones when needed, but also creates a blueprint for how you’re going to handle paperwork that comes in, in the future. This gives a sense of calm and order to things that might otherwise bring you stress.”

Read testimonials from our community and find out more about our research into the concept of ‘paperweight’, here.