Why ‘Tidying Up’ Like Marie Kondo Is Good for Your Health — and Wallet

The new Netflix series that teaches people how to declutter their lives isn’t just popular entertainment, it’s helpful advice that can lead to a happier, healthier you.Viewers can’t get enough of host Marie Kondo helping people declutter their homes and get their lives back.
But can living a clutter-free life really bring about mental, physical and even financial benefits?
Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer and president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, says absolutely.
“People can feel so overwhelmed by their stuff. When they start to declutter, the initial feeling is hope that their life will be changed by doing this work,” Delap told Healthline. “They also begin to feel a greater sense of control and well-being by lowering their stress levels. After all, there’s nothing more stressful than searching for your keys as you’re trying to get out of the house on time.”
The biggest benefit of decluttering, she adds, is creating more time to spend on what’s meaningful to you.
Joshua Becker, author of The Minimalist Home, discovered this about 10 years ago as he was spring cleaning.
“I decided to clean out my garage because I thought my 5-year old son would help me, but he helped for 20 seconds, and then was off,” Becker told Healthline. “I kept working on the garage and my neighbor happened to walk over. I complained to her about the time I had spent on the garage and she said, ‘That’s why my daughter decided to become a minimalist.’”
As Becker looked over at his son on their swing set, the idea resonated with him.
“In that moment, I realized that not only were my things not making me happy, but even worse they were actually taking me away from the very thing that did bring me happiness and purpose and fulfillment and joy in my life,” he said.
On that day, Becker set out to declutter and minimalize his family’s belongings. He’s been a minimalist since, and shares his journey and tips on his blog Becoming Minimalist.
Why cluttering happens
Delap says oftentimes people inherit stuff from loved ones who have passed away and the sentimental value they bring makes it difficult to let those things go.
Transitions in life is another common reason she sees.
“Someone that has a new baby, or moved into a new house, or got a new job or is taking care of an ill loved one might be overwhelmed and they’re really focused on that and don’t have time to organize their home, so it becomes a very low priority, and things just keep piling up as a result,” she said.
The ability to shop online plays a part too.
“People buy a lot of things on Amazon and don’t necessarily return them or they buy them because they couldn’t find that exact thing in their house yet it’s tucked away under stuff,” she said.
While hoarding disorder is a mental illness related to the inability to give up possessions, Delap says not everyone whose home is cluttered has this condition.
“Rarely do people actually have a hoarding disorder. It’s just more likely that a situation has come up or they’re going through a grieving process. There are a lot of reasons that lead up to this,” Delap said.
When you have less stuff, Delap says you have more clarity because you’re not having to think about your stuff.
Becker agrees, noting that with that clarity comes the realization of what you want out of life.
“There are different motivations for decluttering or becoming a minimalist. Some people want to spend more time with their family or travel the world or want to change jobs or save money,” he said.