Person organising their kitchen
Hacking your brain’s natural chemistry to help you declutter

Did you know that you can hack your brains natural chemistry in order to tackle clutter and disorganisation? Here’s how.

The brain has a natural ‘reward system’. It functions by releasing a chemical called dopamine when you anticipate or receive rewards. (You may well have heard of this.) This release of dopamine, often referred to as the “happiness hormone,” gives you feelings of pleasure, reinforcing the behaviours linked to that enjoyment. As a result, you will be far more likely to do those things again in order to feel that gratifying sensation. Leveraging this mechanism can effectively spur you into action, foster productivity, and help you cultivate beneficial habits.

You can employ the dopamine system to help you declutter and organise your home, and keep it clear and organised, by connecting positive emotions and rewards with task completion. Here are some things to try:

Envision the outcome: Craft a vivid and compelling vision of the result you desire. Imagine the satisfaction you will feel when you have a clean and organized home. You could create a vision board or collage to inspire motivation, either on paper or using Pinterest.

Work with others: Engage your family members, housemates or a supportive group in the decluttering process to foster a sense of teamwork and achievement. This will, enhance the overall positive experience.

Divide tasks into manageable chunks: Instead of viewing decluttering as an overwhelming chore, break it down into smaller, achievable goals. Each completion will trigger a dopamine release, motivating you to move on to the next task.

Use a timer: Setting a time limit for decluttering and organising tasks will make them feel more attainable and focused. I suggest setting aside a 3-4 hour block of time, but break it down into smaller blocks: I suggest perhaps two 90-minute blocks with a break halfway. Always allow a chunk of time at the end to clear the decks.

Establish a reward system: Treat yourself to a healthy snack or other rewards when you complete each session or part of a session. Listening to your favourite music while you work may also enhance your dopamine levels.

Monitor progress: Use checklists or task-tracking apps to track and celebrate your accomplishments. Simply checking off completed items will give you a sense of fulfilment and stimulate dopamine release.

Since what motivates you will be unique, experiment with different ways to implement these strategies. And perhaps create some of your own. Identify what resonates best with you and cultivates a positive association between decluttering and the dopamine reward system. Once you have done this, you will need to repeat it a few times to build a habit, so persevere in order to reap the full benefits.

What works best for you? I’d love to hear in the comments.


  1. Gail Griffiths

    Hi Helen I have listened to music on my headphones when cleaning and decluttering. After reading your article I realise how it helps by enhancing my dopamine levels and helping me to enjoy the process. And the outcome of course.

    • Helen

      Hi Gail. I’m glad you have found a way to support your decluttering. Every little tweak can help. H


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