Clutter: “a large amount of things that are not arranged in a neat or orderly way; a crowded or disordered collection of things”.
I’m sure each and every one of us has a tale to tell about clutter. With the advent of mass consumerism; the amount we purchase, consume, and ultimately store (often out of sight) has increased drastically.
It seems that we have developed an obsession with material possessions or “things”, which, on the whole, don’t serve us at all. Perhaps at the time of purchase, we experienced that instant gratification. But very rarely, if at all, is that gratification sustaining.
The downside of this is that we find ourselves cluttering up our environment and our homes. Tied to this is a host of other problems. In the words of Bustle contributor, Carolyn Steber:Advertising
“Anyone with an overflowing closet or totally stuffed basement can attest to the stress brought on by piles of junk. That’s because not only is it annoying to look at, but it can dredge up so many different emotions”
Steber goes on to say that when she looks at her messy closet she feels stressed about the lack of organization, guilty about the fact that she doesn’t wear half of what she owns, and confused as to what style she is going for.
According to Jennifer Baumgartner Psy.D., in Psychology Today, clutter can also have an immense psychological effect.
“Clutter is not only a container for our memories but can be a distractor for tackling deeper issues.”
All the junk we have is inextricably linked to other problems; it can hold us back from getting stuff done. Recognizing the fact that it’s time to declutter is easy, but actually getting it done is a whole other feat. It can be an absolute chore. What follows, however, is a host of benefits. Here are four, according to science:
Declutter for a brighter future
An item can be classified as clutter, not in terms of how it looks, but how it makes you feel. All the things we own are invariably attached to memories we have. When we look at them we often get a sense of nostalgia. Sometimes these memories are good memories, and this is okay.
But often our possessions are associated with bad memories. Holding on to such possessions only serve as a negative reminder of the past. It does not serve us at all; only holds us back from moving forward with our lives and creating a new, brighter future. Declutter to help you let go of the past.
Declutter for lower stress and a peaceful mind
A recent study from UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) found that clutter has a deep-seated effect on our mood and self-esteem.Advertising
Notably, anthropologists, social scientists, and archaeologists found “A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female homeowners and a high density of household objects.” Men didn’t seem to be bothered by this at all. Women were found to become more anxious as the dishes piled up in the sink.
The research suggests that through decluttering we can reduce stress, become less anxious, and ultimately be more at peace.
Declutter for increased productivity
Clutter has a profound impact on our brains. In a study conducted by Neuroscientists at Princeton University, researchers explain that the reasoning for this is that physical clutter in our environment competes for our attention, which negatively affects performance and induces stress.
Through decluttering then there is less vying for our attention, our information processing is improved and we can focus better. Naturally, what follows is improved productivity.Advertising
Declutter for improved sleep
A recent study conducted by Pamela Thacher of St. Lawrence University suggests that clutter and sleep loss are linked. More specifically, a link was found between hoarding objects and bad sleep quality. The study asked participants about their hoarding, sleeping, and clutter and rated them on a “Clutter and Hoarding Rating Scale”. Of the 198 participants, 83 who were at risk of hoarding disorder suffered from sleep latency.
Hoarding disorder is a disorder where people accumulate items, that they struggle to get rid of, which have little or no value to them. Sleep latency is the length of time it takes from lying down to sleep until sleep onset.
Pamela Thacher mentions that hoarders already have problems with decision making and cognitive control (set of cognitive processes such as reasoning, problem-solving, etc). Lack of sleep is known to compromise cognition. It then follows that any existing risk for cognitive dysfunction, depression, and stress may increase with lack of sleep.
Declutter for an improved life
There is a host of problems associated with clutter, from increased stress levels to other psychological effects. Decluttering can be a chore, particularly as we often ascribe value to things based on associated memories. However, if we declutter what follows is a host of benefits, from greater well-being, improved productivity, reduced stress, and a peaceful mind. Ultimately, we improve our lives.Advertising
Last Updated on January 13, 2022
10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas
A honeymoon is important. The wedding is over. The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over. It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.
To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon. This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to. Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.
A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple. You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature. You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life. There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.
You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon. In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one. Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically. Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together. You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.
3. Island Getaway
People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc. Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget. You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car. It’s the view in paradise that really matters.
4. Fancy Resort
Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in. While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits. If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention. There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.
5. Road Trip
The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination. If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours. Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure. You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.
6. Charter a Boat
If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination. You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions. You’ll also be surrounded by people. For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.
7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City
If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it. Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity. The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart. Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house. If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).
8. Themed Retreats
There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about. Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.
9. Working Honeymoon
Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation. For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization. You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason. Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc. Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community. Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.
10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events
Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events. Find one you’re interested in. If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals. Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into. If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.
Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com