#HilaryRowland

Why I Decluttered and Redecorated — and Why You Should Too

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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 eachother, 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.

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 spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

7 Comments

  1. I agree with that study that clutter tends to create depression. I get depressed when my husband starts to make a huge mess and not clean up afterwards. 😛

  2. Francis Woods

    OMG such a cute story and photo!! You make great points and were SUCH a cute kid, Hilary!

  3. Arabella Clarington

    I love your childhood story 🙂 And I really find your tips extremely helpful.

    I train my daughter to pick up after herself, clean her room and be organized. I believe that having a “clutter-free” mindset at an early age can be very helpful.

    More often than not, when we decide to “declutter” we’re left with a question of “Where do I begin?!” The idea of “decluttering” and “redecorating” makes us feel overwhelmed and anxious. But in fact, it doesn’t have to be hard as some make it out to be. It should be enjoyable and should help us explore and reveal our creative side 🙂

  4. Trish Potter

    I’ve read before that clutter is the hallmark of a creative mind, if so, then I’m quite creative! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have a streamlined, minimalist, de-cluttered home environment. I don’t want my living space to be model home/hotel room like, instead I want a creative, lived-in space.

  5. Omg. I used to be really messy too. And then something happened at work that made me lose an important paper, and from then on, I told myself I need to organize my table, my work space. I can’t afford to make another mistake that might lead to me losing my job. 😀

    • Courtney Watson

      I can very much relate! An experience at work made me realized that I need to be organized.

  6. That photo of you as a child is SO CUTE! I love the tips too — I always have fresh flowers all over my home.

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