Making Space for a Healthy Home

By Yuriko Beaman, M.S. 

We have a large quantity of items in our homes, and it elevates our stress levels. A team of social scientists has demonstrated that clutter in homes increases women’s stress-hormone levels. In a 10 year study published in Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, authors Jeanne E. Arnold, Anthony P. Graesch, Enzo Ragazzini and Elinor Ochs found that “there was a direct relationship between the number of magnets on refrigerators and the amount of stuff in a household.”

Information from studies, books on decluttering, and documentaries can be motivating. However, sitting down to work through a pile of papers or a mound of T-shirts feels stressful. We don’t realize how emotionally attached we have become to the items in our home. These items are everywhere, from the magnets on the refrigerator to the bottles of hair products we intended to try. We realize that we aren’t just decluttering; we are confronting aspects of ourselves.

There are a variety of helpful decluttering concepts. However, it is most important to create an intentional and thoughtful process that will provide motivation and establish a purpose when we feel the weight of the items we are about to sort through.

The first step is to explore what we want our home to look like. Starting here can guide us towards our goal. It’s also helpful to share that goal with others in the home so we can create a space that brings joy to all who reside in the living space.

Secondly, choose what to keep. When our decluttering process is focused on what we want in life, it’s easier to see what we will gain once we are done sorting through stuff. After clear goals and intentions have been set, remember to be patient. It took time to gather all the items in our space. Let them go with patience and gratitude. Take the time to process each item, to express gratitude when letting go, and commit to taking care of the items that spark joy. When we follow this intentional process, we cultivate a sense of contentment. Clutter will be less likely to accumulate in our space.

Yuriko Beaman, M.S., is the owner of Joy & Space, LLC and a certified KonMari™ consultant and yoga teacher (RYT-200) located in Reading, PA. For more information, email her at or visit .

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