Mind Over Clutter Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Mind Over Clutter helps you take steps to improve your mental health, physical health, and the environment by showing you why having too much junk is so bad for you and outlining how to get rid of it all.

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Mind Over Clutter Summary

I can’t stand clutter. I’m one of those people that you might call a neat freak. Before going to bed each night I have to pick up or I’d go crazy. Still, there are some areas of my house that I just can’t seem to get rid of the junk.

These days it feels like between busy jobs and spending time with family and friends there’s no time to make your home tidy. That means your stress when you walk in the door after work only gets compounded by the frustration of having too much stuff.

Imagine how it would feel if your living and working spaces were neatly organized. Just thinking about it reduces my stress levels! Putting it into practice isn’t always easy though, unless you know where to get the right information.

That’s where Nicola Lewis’s book Mind Over Clutter: Cleaning Your Way to a Calm and Happy Home comes in handy. She’ll teach you everything you need to know to go from chaotic and stressful rooms to an organized home that makes you feel great!

These are my 3 favorite lessons from this book:

  1. Clutter increases cortisol levels in your body, which makes you more at risk for mental illness and decreased productivity, but you can beat it by starting small.
  2. There are four simple steps to getting rid of all your junk, the first of which is to empty the room you want to clean.
  3. Use natural cleaning products that you can make yourself if you want to disinfect without harming your health.

Grab your garbage can and get ready to throw all that unnecessary stuff away! Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Your cortisol levels and risk for mental illness are higher if you have a lot of clutter, but you can start small to beat it.

Doesn’t the thought of having too many possessions just overwhelm you? It’s not fun to think about these things so you tend to shy away from doing so, but you’ve got to for the sake of your mental and physical health.

You might not solve all of your problems by decluttering, but it will definitely help improve your state of mind. Research shows that the stress hormone cortisol is higher in people who live in cluttered homes. 

When you’ve got more cortisol your risk for anxiety and depression is higher. It also makes you less productive by harming your ability to concentrate. And the negative effects aren’t just mental, too much stress can also cause headaches and insomnia.

Now, the idea of just starting to clean up your home might sound daunting. You might have tried multiple times with no luck. The good news is that you don’t need to overwhelm yourself. Just start small, with one little win. 

The easiest way to get this is to begin each day by making your bed. It sets your day off on a positive note and can even make you sleep better! 

Once you’ve got that down just do one project at a time. It doesn’t even have to be huge, you can clear one shelf in a cupboard each week if you want. Small steps over time will make a big difference.

Lesson 2: To get rid of that stressful junk follow four simple steps, starting with removing everything from just one room.

Envisioning the bigger picture of an entire home that’s clean might be pretty difficult for you right now. But consider how great it would feel to wake up in a place that inspires you and actually helps you destress after work.

The author recommends following four steps for each room in your house to make this happen:

  1. Take everything out of the room except furniture.
  2. Sift through everything to make four piles. One is for stuff you want to keep and the other three are for things you’ll trash, donate, or sell. Only keep those things that you use at most once a month. Throw things away ruthlessly!
  3. Clean the entire room, including inside the furniture. Don’t forget the top shelves that might get dusty!
  4. Put everything except for your trash, donate, and sell items back into the room. Make sure to organize it carefully.

Don’t forget to do this with your bedroom, too. You might want to overlook it because nobody else usually sees it, but it’s actually one of the most important rooms in your house. 

Having a cluttered bedroom makes it hard to sleep well. You might get distracted at bedtime and stay up later when you see a pile of work papers, for example. For maximum productivity and happiness, make this space a sleep sanctuary.

Lesson 3: Chemical disinfectants can be bad for your health, so use more natural ones.

You want your home to be safe from theft and anything that could damage yours or your children’s health. Unfortunately, we sometimes bring those unhealthy intruders in ourselves with the cleaning products we use!

A lot of cleaning products that we consider common for every household contain toxic chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Using them puts dangerous gases into the air in your home, harming everyone in it.

Exposure to these compounds may harm children as they can lead to kidney and liver problems and damaged nervous systems. They’re so terrible that they may even make the air inside your house more polluted than outside.

The good news is that you’ve probably already got everything you need to fix these issues. Here are a few common household items that you can use to clean:

  • Lemons, which are antibacterial and can help clear watermarks and limescale.
  • Vinegar is also antibacterial, gets rid of bad smells, and can keep your refrigerator from getting moldy.
  • Baking soda, which is good at cleaning dirty dishes when mixed with lemon juice. It can also make your white laundry even whiter if you put it in with your regular detergent. And combining it with vinegar can clean bathroom stains.

Mind Over Clutter Review

Clutter is the worst but I had no idea it could be this bad! I also was clueless about how easy it can be to get rid of until after I read Mind Over Clutter. This is one of those aspects of life that you can improve in only one weekend but will have positive benefits for years to come.

Who would I recommend the Mind Over Clutter summary to?

The 60-year-old that can’t seem to throw away all of their junk and doesn’t realize that it’s making them anxious, the 33-year-old who’s tired of always having to pick up way too much stuff every day, and anyone that wants a quick way to have a happier life by decluttering.

Last Updated on September 21, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.