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Why I Decluttered and Redecorated — and Why You Should Too

Three easy ways to declutter and redecorate for your mental health and peace of mind.

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I was a particularly messy child. They say that creative people tend to be messy. Then again, they also say that successful people tend to be organized and neat.

When I was eight years old I had a nightmare that there was a fire in my house, and I couldn’t get to the door to escape because I had so many toys covering the floor. I was trapped by clutter. I woke up that morning and shocked my parents. I had done what my mother previously had to bribe me to do with copious amounts of chocolate: I cleaned my room. Yeah. The previously completely disorganized and messy little girl I was woke up and decided no more. From that day on, and to this very day, I became a very organized perfectionist. All my toys were lined up perfectly on their shelves (I had long since figured out which ones were friends and placed them facing each other, so they could play while I was at school.) No more toys strewn about the room.

Everything has its place; every detail thought through. That’s me.

Why I Decluttered and Redecorated — and Why You Should Too

Me, right before I decided to organize and declutter

It sounds tiring — I know. But they say there are advantages to this way of living. A study by UCLA discovered a link between how families, particularly mothers, talk about clutter in their homes and their cortisol levels. The resulting book, “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” carefully studied 32 families and investigated how they live, how they use their time, what they purchase and what areas of their home life cause stress. The book points to a trend that clutter can cause depression and overwhelm those who interact with it on a daily basis. Added to the stress is the emotional bond that connects people to their clutter and the inability to break sentimental attachments.

Why I Decluttered and Redecorated — and Why You Should Too

Me now, in my delightfully uncluttered home

Decluttering and re-decorating for peace of mind can feel intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a game plan and a slow and steady pace. The benefits can lead to a clearer mind, more self-esteem and even weight loss from letting go of the clutter. Here are three simple ways to declutter:

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 68 Comments

  1. I ENJOY ORGANIZING THINGS. IT’S KIND OF THERAPEUTIC AND FUN TO GO THROUGH ALL MY STUFF. IT FEELS GOOD TO GET RID OF THINGS I NO LONGER NEED AND REPLACE THEM WITH NEW STUFF. ALSO, THERE IS NO BETTER FEELING THAN SEEING THE CLEAN ROOM.

  2. ariel myers

    i have a “chair” in my room that has my “can wear again” clothes for just in case occasions. however, over time it grows and become “cannot wear again/another laundry basket”. and my laundry basket will only fill with my undies, so i guess it works out fine.

  3. ysabelle raven

    I’m the type of girl that hates clutter but has a pile of random items on a corner of the room with no way to determine what is what with just the look of an eye. but still, i know what’s in there and how to get it without disturbing the natural ecosystem that may have been created inside that pile or shenanigans. however, my room is perfectly tidy except for that space. trust me. , please.

  4. Chris Moris

    I want to donate my old clothes. Any suggestion where I can donate them?

    • Katherine Swift

      Find the closest orphanage to your house. You can search google for their phone number. It’s very timely for Christmas season 🙂 Also if you’re a Catholic, you can ask your parish priest if they can also include your clothes to be given as donations. Here in my place, our parish priest is asking for clothes for donations for their gift giving.

  5. Martin Juyes

    Wow! Can I earn money from my old stuff? I used to throw my old stuff before because I am no good at selling online. I guess it’s time to try online selling, and start earning more bucks.

    • Victor Blackwood

      There’s tons of gold in the garbage is what my mother always says. You just have to be diligent enough to clean your old stuff, post it online on sale and boom, INSTANT MONEY! Goodluck on your business!

  6. James Hannks

    Cleanliness is important. It’s not just about how it will affect your brain, but your health as well. A pile of clutter can hold unhealthy elements that can harm your health. Stay healthy, stay clean.

  7. Jonathon Swift

    My sister has a messy room, and my mom always scolds at her. Haha, I love seeing them fighting because of her room. Love you, sis!

  8. Brett Lee

    If a woman is messy in her room, she has a messy life. Having a messy room for me is a turn-off. I don’t want to have a girlfriend who doesn’t know how to clean.

  9. Allen Kathleen

    I love you, Hilary. Your articles are inspiring even for us, men. You are an indeed talented person.

  10. Betty Campbell

    This is very helpful. For people who aren’t into cleaning their homes, you should follow what Hilary said. There’s nothing wrong with removing the clutter in your place. After all, it will reflect on your personality, not mine, nor Hilary’s.

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