Declutter the home for better mental health, Guide, Building Design Tips, Online Advice

Declutter the Home for Better Mental Health

5 May 2021

Marie Miguel - Declutter the home for better mental health
By Marie Miguel

Your home, both inside and out, can support your mental health. Decluttering – in addition to leaving you with a clean, organized home – can be good for your emotional well-being. With less physical clutter comes a sense of less mental clutter. Try designing a setting for clearer, calmer thoughts and feelings.

If you are concerned about mental health or would like help to strengthen your mental wellness, support is available from licensed mental health professionals.

Mental Health Benefits of Decluttering

  • A peaceful, calm environment can be soothing and promote better sleep and relaxation, both of which are important for mental wellness.
  • Less mess can reduce stress. Knowing where everything is can be a timesaver and can decrease stress and ease anxious feelings.
  • Disorganization can make it difficult to focus, which can lead to negative emotions such as frustration, whereas a sense of organization can help with focus and feelings of being in control.
  • A clean, organized home can lessen feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment.
  • An inviting home can help curb isolation.
  • Eliminating physical clutter can create a less chaotic environment. Chaos can fuel anxiety, so keeping spaces free of clutter can be a smart, effective anxiety management tool.

Getting started – Declutter the home for better mental health

  • Setting realistic, specific, achievable goals when taking on any new task can be motivating.
  • Many people feel overwhelmed at the prospect of decluttering, but goal setting can help ease anxious feelings and promote a sense of control.
  • If a goal isn’t reached at first, don’t give up. A willingness to readjust and re-set goals and practices can get the momentum flowing if it’s stalled.

Pick Decluttering Methods that Work for You

Books, podcasts, and the Internet offer a wealth of decluttering tips, systems, and methods. Picking strategies that work for you is most important. Try different methods to find your best fit.

Popular Decluttering Ideas

  • Pick up each item and keep only what makes you feel good or what’s necessary.
  • Declutter and organize by categories in the house, instead of one drawer or room at a time.
  • One each day of the month, purge or organize the number of items that corresponds with the date. For example, on the fifteenth of the month, throw away, donate, or carefully and neatly put away fifteen items.
  • Pick an area—a room, a closet, a drawer—and divide clutter into five categories: keep, donate, trash, recycle, and “not sure.” Go back through the “not sure” category when you feel ready to make decisions about the items.
  • Stage a move. Pretend you’re moving by getting moving boxes. Package and physically organize all your belongings in them. Pack only what you would take with you if you were moving. Donate, throw out, or recycle the rest accordingly.
  • Try a “one in, one out” policy. If you bring something new into the house, choose one thing you no longer use and donate, recycle, or throw it away to keep the clutter from creeping in.
  • Work in short bursts. If the thought of spending hours deters you from decluttering, try setting a timer and clearing as much as you can in a short amount of time, such as 15 or 30 minutes.
  • Set mini-goals for decluttering. For example, try tackling just one drawer or shelf.
  • Make your bed. This small, simple action can have a big, calming effect.
  • Set a goal to have fewer things. That’s a straightforward way to curtail clutter.
  • Try a twelve-month rule or 90 days test. If you haven’t used an item in a certain amount of time and won’t be using it in the immediate future, let it go.
  • For a big impact, start by decluttering flat, open surfaces, where clutter that you see tends to accumulate. Look at desks, nightstands, and kitchen and bathroom counters.
  • Keep a box or bag in your closet and put in items of clothes that you have put on and immediately taken off because you don’t like the way they look. Keep only what you feel good in and need.
  • Manage paper. Recycle what you don’t need immediately. Handle paperwork at least weekly—sort the paper piles, pay bills, reply to invitations, and so on.
  • Purge before you splurge on containers or organizational storage. That way you’ll only get what you need.
  • Make a home for everything and put everything in its place. A ten- or twenty-minute tidy each day can work wonders for curtailing clutter.

If Clutter is Causing You Stress, Try the Following

  • Talk about it. Tell anyone you live with about your tolerance level for clutter and how clutter makes you feel. Respectfully ask for help with what you need.
  • Create a small escape. One clutter free room or corner can be calming. You can tackle more areas as time allows.
  • Focus on acceptance. Your space does not have to be perfect. Letting go of that notion can ease the pressure you may feel. Prioritize what makes the biggest impact on your emotions and try letting go of the rest.

A home can be a haven for mental wellness. Decluttering can be an effective tool for building a supportive, healthy foundation.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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