Why decluttering can be therapeautic

As a busy mum, perhaps like me, you are familiar with the feeling that your home can turn from 'neat and tidy' to 'bomb site' in the mere blink of an eye. (Hello, the kids are home from school and with them comes the mess...) It's super frustrating!  And I am guilty of ranting and raving at the children, my husband and myself about how if we were just better organised we could keep our home neat and tidy for longer.

But, can I let you in on a secret?  Are you ready?

It's not about being organised.  No, organisation just won't cut it.

True change will only come from getting rid of stuff; from decluttering.

It’s all to do with control.  As the Buddhist teachings say, "outer order leads to inner calm".  Or, as Gretchen Rubin states in Happier at Home:

“Eliminating clutter makes the burden of life feel lighter”.

I have found that the process of clearing our space helps me feel more calm and in control, especially after periods of significant change, including mourning.

There comes a time when you have been through a major change when you realise you have moved through the absolute worst of it. Often you only realise this with hindsight (at least, that’s how it was for me), and at that point you can feel the need for an overhaul.

The way things are and the items you own no longer feel right.

After a major change, decluttering helped me re-create my space and my belongings to reflect who I was now, rather than live in an environment that did not align with who I had become.

For me, the simplest declutter activity was, and continues to be, reviewing my clothes.  In the year after we lost our second son, I did a big declutter of the entire house and I started with my clothes.

Clothes that I had worn pre-pregnancy felt out of date and weird, as my body had changed. So, rather than holding on to them and feeling bad, I got ruthless! I went through my entire wardrobe, culled and gave multiple bags to charity.

By reviewing items and determining whether they still worked in my life, I gained a sense of control and also a sense of freedom.  I felt liberated from the burden of ownership, when owning an item and not using it made me feel bad.

Removing items that no longer suited my life and donating them to others who would be able to use them helped me feel like I was taking charge and managing my response to the changes that had occurred in my life.  One of the (many) times I decided I was not returning to the corporate world, I donated all my suits to Dress for Success.  In this way, decluttering felt extra positive as I was helping others as well as myself.

The process of decluttering was restorative and therapeutic.

Feeling that we have an element of control in a situation that is otherwise out of our control can assist our ability to cope with what otherwise can be a stressful and overwhelming situation.  A little victory when undergoing change, but an important one.

It’s Okay to declutter.  Some of the benefits of a good clear out;

  • More space in your home to display, treasure, use and admire the items you really love.
  • More space in your head to think, create and experience joy as you are not constantly being distracted by clutter.
  • Greater sense of control over your environment.

And so, I am now known for my frequent and at times, thorough purging and decluttering. This is partly in response to major life changes, but can also be influenced by seasonal shifts.  Our bodies are aligned with nature, and as the seasons change, we also crave change.

So if you are feeling a little out of balance, or have been through a major change, or just dream of having more space (either physical or mental) perhaps a declutter is just what you need...


If this post has sparked something within you - perhaps a longing to do things differently, or a desire to overhaul your life - please consider downloading my free E-book, "6 Days to a Life Filled with more Joy, Hope and Love". Through the process outlined in the E-Book, it will help you to make changes in your life and experience more joy, hope and love.  Just enter your email address on the right hand side of the screen to receive an instant download.