Can decluttering make you happier? Here’s what the research says

Woman moving boxes next to stack of boxes waiting to be moved

Decluttering has been promised as the path to peace and tranquility, but can decluttering your home actually make you happier? According to research, the reality is a bit more complicated than tidiness experts will have you believe.

The link between clutter and stress

Researchers have found that disorder in the home can cause stress and anxiety for some people. Interestingly, it’s not the objects themselves that cause negative feelings, it’s the feeling that an object is out of place. 

Decluttering techniques, such as the KonMari method, can help to reduce stress by creating a clear system for your home. With decluttering, you can work out exactly where things should be put and make sure every object has its own place. 

How does decluttering impact your life?

Decluttering might change your whole outlook on life. A 2020 study found that many people who use decluttering methods also change their lifestyle in a number of ways. Decluttering can encourage you to revisit your lifestyle choices and many people prioritise their wellbeing more after decluttering.

According to the research, decluttering can also change how you think about your possessions. For some people, decluttering leads them to focus more on finding happiness through their social lives rather than their things, like spending more time with family and friends. For this group, there is a trend towards more sustainable lifestyle choices too.

Feeling happier at home

Decluttering could help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in your home, but it’s not a one-time cure-all technique. Instead, decluttering is something that you need to do regularly in your home in order to feel the benefits.

Research also shows that consumption - like buying new things - can make you feel more content. Your possessions can help to satisfy your psychological needs, helping to reduce negative emotions and increase your overall happiness. Buying new things can also be a way to reward yourself, which can boost your mood.

The Bottom Line

Decluttering can be a hugely helpful technique for some people. It can make it easier to tidy up your home by creating a system for organising your possessions. Decluttering could also change your outlook on life, leading you to adapt your lifestyle choices to suit your clutter-free home. 

But it’s not the only method. Having lots of possessions can also make people happier, it all comes down to personal preference.

If you want to try living a clutter-free lifestyle, give decluttering a go! Or if you feel content and at peace in your home, keep doing what you’re doing. You don’t have to throw out your stuff to find joy! 

**At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.