How Decluttering Can Help Your Mental Health
Oh clutter, clutter, clutter. I’m not sure about you but it’s my absolute enemy. It’s all evil- out to get me.
And it severely affects my mental health. Big time.
Is it affecting your mental health?
I learned that I can’t handle clutter. It’s silly because that should be obvious. I am a neat freak by nature. When you come to my house it’s usually always clean, even with three boys running around, jumping from couch to couch, bouncing off the walls. I know they say a messy house means you are creating memories, and let me tell you I believe it. But I am different and that’s okay.
I still take the time to go on adventures with my boys but I do it with a clean house. And I like it that way. In truth, you shouldn’t fall to the pressures of what everyone (you know those mothers who clearly know it all and have it all together. Cheers to you!) says you should do. But that’s another story, for another time. I knew I liked things tidy, that’s not news to me or anyone I know. But I can honestly say I never thought clutter was the biggest stressor for me. This wasn’t until I started tossing things and giving stuff away. We went from toys everywhere in every room, to a couple per kid. And you want to know what? They didn’t even know they were gone. They didn’t ask for anything because they were too busy making swords out of kitchen utensils and forts out of chairs and blankets. And I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t walk into a room anymore and feel my heart start to race because of all the things everywhere.
I grabbed a laundry basket and a stack of garbage bags one day and I haven’t looked back.
I went through each room, tossing the trash and parting with the stuff to donate. It wasn’t easy, it was hard but it was worth it. Having each room be clear from the mess (apart from day-to-day clutter) is something I hold dear.
So how does decluttering help your mental health?
First of all, clutter causes anxiety, overwhelm, and creates chaos in our homes. Right? We know this already. By eliminating the clutter you will feel calmer. You won’t feel anxious when you walk into a room and see everything everywhere. There is something about clean counters that does wonders. When I first heard that I thought, no way. But it really does. Now, completely clear counters is a stretch for a lot of people, myself included. I try to keep only the things that are needed daily on my counters. But I still have candles and decor, because that makes me feel good. Keep that in mind. Just because you are decluttering doesn’t mean you throw away everything that brings you joy.
Decluttering brings peace. It brings a relaxing feeling, something we all need more of right?
It brings control. Battling mental health issues is exhausting. We feel like we are constantly trying to control it, to monitor it.. and that feeling of no control is hard. It really is.
Another benefit is how much it helps with focus. You wouldn’t think this would be a benefit but think about it- if we are constantly overwhelmed in a certain room where we need to get things done or focus, we will be so distracted. We won’t even want to go in there. It’s like my kiddos bedrooms (well two of them), if I had to work in there my head would be spinning with all the things I would need to take care of.
Here are some tips to get you started
- Dedicate a day to tackle decluttering. If you are on a time limit it’ll just frustrate you.
- If a day seems overwhelming, try room by room until it’s complete.
- If you don’t feel like you can part with something right away, put it into a special box and make a note to come back to it.
- Keep only what you need. I am a huge fan of only having enough dishes (reusing throughout the day) for each family member. What about parties? I have a set in the pantry just for this.
- Try to give away a couple of things each week. Best to find a good home for things!
When you are decluttering- Ask yourself these questions
- If I moved would I keep this item or would I donate or toss it?
- If this item broke would I fix it?
- DO I really need this?
- If I was shopping right now would I buy this?
- Do I see myself using this next month or year?
- Have I used this item lately?
If you take anything away from this- it is that you should set ONE day aside to go through your house- keep what you need and toss/give away the rest. I am telling you- it’s a game-changer!