Let’s face it: Americans have a lot of stuff. And over time, our homes have grown significantly in size just so that we have room for it all. The size of the average home in the U.S. has actually tripled over the past 50 years alone -- which is no surprise, as the average home also contains more than 300,000 items! As a result, many people are finally learning about the benefits of decluttering your home.

However, you don't have to be a committed minimalist to benefit from better organization. In fact, there are many scientifically proven benefits of decluttering your home. So whether you're looking for proven benefits of organizing your home, or proven strategies for doing so in the first place, keep reading for our visual guide to decluttering your domicile.

The Health Benefits of Decluttering Your Home

Even with bigger homes, we still struggle to find ways to store it all. It doesn't matter if you have storage cabinets, 15-cube organizers, and the best storage furniture in the world. If you have too much stuff in the first place, you may need to make some tough choices about what to keep and what to donate or throw away -- and that’s something a lot of us stress over. In fact, 84% of recently stressed Americans say that they worry their home isn’t clean or neatly arranged enough. In addition, over half (55%) of those surveyed Americans said that excessive clutter was the primary source of their high stress levels.

Scientifically speaking, that actually makes a lot of sense. Clutter actually overloads all five of your senses, which causes anxiety and even impairs your thinking. In a UCLA study involving 32 Los Angeles families, results showed that the mothers’ stress hormones jumped when they had to deal with a high density of physical belongings.

But that doesn’t mean the matriarchs are the only ones who suffer the negative effects of clutter-induced stress. We’re all prone to feeling overwhelmed -- or even ill -- when our homes are disorganized. For instance, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one of the best ways to keep dust mites at bay is to “keep surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered.” Considering that millions of people suffer from year-round allergies due to toxins, dust, and other allergens found in their homes, decluttering one’s home may allow you to stop sneezing and stressing.

Proven Strategies for Decluttering Your Home

Americans seem to be more stressed than ever before, often due to job-related responsibilities or an inability to strike a balance between work life and home life. And often, sickness and stress go hand-in-hand. But unlike our professional or personal duties, there is something that can be done about the yucky stuff that stems from clutter. In addition to investing in the best storage furniture, consider these famous organization techniques.

Adopt the 1-Year Rule: If you haven’t used or even seen an item in more than one year’s time, it’s time to give it the old heave-ho. You probably won’t even miss its presence, but you’ll likely feel a whole lot lighter.

Use the Pomodoro Technique: This time management method was developed in the 1980s, but it’s still a great way to make organization feel less overwhelming. Simply set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes and limit yourself to cleaning only until the timer goes off. Over the next week or so, clean and declutter in short, controlled bursts of time. You’ll have a tidier home before you know it because you’ll be more focused and less burned out.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to declutter your home overnight, but the process will be well worth it in the end. After all, the average person spends 3,680 hours (or 153 days!) searching for misplaced items during their lifetime. Do you really want to waste nearly half a year looking for your stuff and being stressed about it? By making the commitment to declutter now, you’ll improve your health and overall wellbeing while making your home look and function at its very best.