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Calm Bites - How to Unstress about Clutter

Around 40% of the people who answered my quiz on Calm Space said that clutter was their main source of stress. That is quite a high number I think. So I wanted to discuss the subjects and give some tips.

More clutter we have, the more reminders and signals our brain gets that we still have things to do.

Studies show that clutter is especially a source of stress for women, more than for men. Some explanations are that the women's brain will see clutter and will register it as things she has to clear, but not necessarily men. Moreover, when a house is cluttered, society sees it, unfortunately still today, as the women’s responsibility and it puts more pressure on the woman. Even though the clutter might not be caused by the women. Other studies show that married women spend 3.5 hours per day doing house chores, but 3 hours when they are single.

One thing I want to start with. Your House doesn’t need to be like on a magazine cover.

Nobody has a house that looks like the cover of "Perfect Home Magazine". Nobody. That is okay. If there are a few things here and there that are not where they were supposed to be, it’s okay. Not the end of the world. We need to relax about it... up to the point, it seems a bit out of hand.

Since I read the book Unfrazzle, by Stéphanie Lam, I am reminding myself of the 2 principles: "Do less and embrace imperfection", on a daily basis. And I am trying to apply it to everything lately. And clutter as well.

Everything that I am going to write in this blog post really depends on whether you are the only person creating clutter in your house or there are many people and each person has its own clutter. If the persons living in your house are able to remove something from one place to another, they can take care of their own clutter. You don’t have to do everything, but also if they don’t declutter the way you would, let it go. That is not important if it is not done exactly the way you would do it. Nothing needs to be perfect.

Remember: do less and embrace imperfection.

My third tip is about time constraint. When I was younger, we had some visitors who will pop up at our doorsteps during the weekend for tea and cake, unannounced. We basically had one minute between the doorbell and the moment we would open the door to welcome them to make the house look as good as possible. One minute. I think it is always good when we have difficulty getting things done, to put a time constraint. Then, we realize we can do things quicker and well, even if it is not perfect.

For example, set up ½ h timer and get to one of the rooms in your house and take care of your clutter.

When you are doing that, the most important is to ask yourself the following questions: Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it fit with the life I want to live now? If you answer no to each question, you can give it away. Sell it, give it to charity or to the bin…

I also heard recently about a 1-minute rule (yes, 1 minute again). I don’t remember where I saw it, but it was something like: “If it will take you less than 1 minute to do it, do it now.

For example, you come into the house, and you remove your shoes. You might leave them there right in the middle of the hall. Will it take you less than a minute to put it in the rack? Yes, so do it now instead of later. You have a pile of laundry, you bring them to the bed and leave them there. It will take you less than a minute to put them in the wardrobe, so do it now, not later? You bring a mug from the living room to the kitchen and leave it on the kitchen table instead of the dishwasher or the sink. Then when you come back to the kitchen you still see clutter and need to make more steps again. It’s just a few more seconds.

I don’t say that it’s easy. And I could write for hours about how to manage clutter. But try these 4 little tips on a daily basis and see how it goes.

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