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If there’s a common truth among all Americans, it’s that we like our stuff. From furniture and clothes to books, holiday décor and other trinkets, we accumulate a lot of belongings as we age. By time we reach retirement age, our homes are packed full of items – some that are still valuable, but many more that are probably nothing more than clutter.

Clutter can weigh you down in more ways than one and leave you feeling trapped in your own home. Fortunately, decluttering can improve your mental and emotional wellbeing and put you in an easier spot to downsize in your golden years.

Why Clutter Causes Stress

Does your house feel messy no matter how many times you clean it? Does constantly having to move belongings in order to get into your closet or complete a task frustrate you? Research shows that living in a cluttered home can actually decrease your quality of life.

In a study published in Current Psychology, researchers found that frustration with clutter tends to increase with age. In other words, the older you get, the more likely the clutter in your home decreases your life satisfaction.

The UCLA Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) found similar results. In studying 32 middle class families in California, the researchers found increased cortisol levels in female homeowners who had a high density of household items. The study also found that homeowners often tend to associate a clean home with happiness and success.

Research all but confirms that clutter can lead to stress. Fortunately, decluttering can have the opposite effect and improve your quality of life, especially in your retirement years.

The Benefits of Decluttering

Decluttering can feel like the weight of the world is being lifted off your shoulders. No longer will you grumble to yourself after tripping over a loose item or feel restless when looking around a cramped living room.

Decluttering is extremely good for you, offering the following benefits:

  • Reduced Anxiety and Stress. Less clutter means you no longer have to carry around the burden of constantly moving, storing and organizing your belongings. Science shows this actually decreases cortisol, or stress hormones, helping you feel less anxious and overwhelmed.
  • Less Mental Distractions. When your closet is overflowing with clothes you don’t wear anymore and your basement is stacked to the ceiling with boxes, not much else occupies your mind. Ridding your home of belongings you no longer use or need can free your mind to focus on activities and events you actually want to think about.
  • Better Sleep Habits. A restless mind makes for restless nights. If you’re constantly worried about the clutter in your home or are aware you’re sleeping in a messy bedroom, you may struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Decluttering can actually improve your sleep routine, in turn improving your quality of life.
  • Improved Mood and Positive Life Outlook. When you aren’t thinking about clutter and can sleep well, your mood will naturally improve. However, decluttering can also have a more direct impact on your emotional wellbeing by giving you a sense of accomplishment and the confidence that you have your life together.
  • Decreased Risk of Injuries. All the stuff in your home can become hazardous, especially as you age. Tripping over a bag of magazines on the staircase or bumping into an old chair in your living room can lead to a fall and injury. Decluttering your home can help keep you healthy and prevent you from injuries.
  • More Time to Do What You Enjoy. Constantly cleaning and organizing takes a lot of time and energy. Decluttering frees up all that time to do more of what you want to do. You can spend more time with your grandchildren, travel, cozy up to read a book or whatever else comes to mind!

Decluttering can truly transform your life and put you at ease day in and day out. Once you’ve decluttered, you can also focus on downsizing to a home that fits your retirement lifestyle. In fact, downsizing to a senior living community like those offered by Knute Nelson can help you live a maintenance-free lifestyle where you have more time to do more of what you love.

Enjoy a Life Free of Clutter at Knute Nelson

Even after decluttering, is maintaining your home still too time-consuming? Moving to an independent living community can relieve you of that home maintenance. At Grand Arbor in Alexandria or Crystal Brook in Park Rapids, you can live an active lifestyle free of housekeeping, lawn care and snow removal.

Contact us today to learn more about independent living options at Knute Nelson.