Maximising Space, Minimising Stress: The Power of Decluttering
April 22, 2021 josephlee

[Photo 1: Extra Space Asia’s storage items as displayed]

Many Malaysians have been struggling with issues of stress and anxiety over the past couple of years. In fact, The Edge reports that 39% of Malaysians experienced heightened stress levels in 2023, and data from the Ministry of Health reveals that 1 in 3 Malaysians have mental health issues.

While there are several factors that play into the state of people’s mental health and stress levels, one surprising factor to take into account is your physical environment. According to National Geographic, living and being in a disorganised, cluttered environment could actually impact not only your stress levels, but even eventually lead to issues like memory impediment, poor eating habits, and decreased impulse control. 

So interestingly, tidying up and taking care of the physical space around you can actually help to lessen stress overall. No matter the approach – whether you’re discarding old possessions, simply rearranging and sorting your belongings out neatly, or even shifting some of your lesser-used items into self-storage solutions like Extra Space Asia’s – giving yourself literal room to breathe can help you destress and provide other benefits as well.

How Clearing Your Space Clears Your Mind

Being in a cluttered environment has been proven to increase levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Furthermore, the amount of time spent rummaging through clutter to find misplaced items takes up 5% of your time on average, which could be put to much better use! With this in mind, taking the time to get organised and declutter your space has been proven to boost your mood and improve your productivity. 

As a bonus, it technically counts as exercise, and physical activity also contributes to feeling motivated and joyful through promoting the brain’s cognitive function, more efficient blood circulation, and stamina. Also, moderate to intense physical activities are known to produce endorphins – also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone – which directly leads to you feeling happier and more relaxed!

On a social level, having a tidy space also gives people an incentive to spend time together in that space, which can also lead to an increase in overall happiness. Other benefits of social connections include lower blood pressure and cholesterol, a stronger immune system, and even increased self-esteem, so hosting a get-together in your newly cleared space has many perks!

Converting Your Clutter Into Cash

Additionally, there is a potential financial bonus to decluttering as well. Whether you host an in-person sale of pre-loved items or utilise an online marketplace, you stand to fetch a fair sum!

As a matter of fact, Shopee reported an estimated 15% increase in pre-loved stock keeping unit (SKU) listings in February 2023 alone, so there’s clearly a massive demand for secondhand products. If you prefer not to organise the sales yourself, there are also plenty of thrift stores or pre-loved item aggregators to get in touch with.

Now, if you don’t want to completely get rid of your things – or you need a little more time and space to figure out if they are or aren’t necessary – you can try out the Undecided Box approach using a self-storage solution like Extra Space Asia’s

This approach involves putting the items you’re thinking of giving away somewhere temporarily, then coming back to them after a period of time. At that point, there is a distinct likelihood that you have completely forgotten about some of those possessions, which should make it easier to part ways.

Through all this, it’s fair to say that in the hustle and bustle of modern life, the clutter that accumulates in our spaces can have a surprisingly intense impact on our mental well-being. While it’s clear that while decluttering isn’t the be-all and end-all solution to emotional, mental, or even financial stress, taking a moment to do so may at least relieve part of the burden. 

Considering the various ups and downs of the past few years, embracing the practice of decluttering not only allows one to potentially find a supplementary source of income, but also alleviates the mental burden that comes with excess. At the heart of it all, decluttering isn’t just about tidying up our physical spaces; it’s about decluttering our minds, too.

For more information, head to Extra Space Asia’s official website at