Clutter and having an unmanageable home can affect your mental health in quite a significant way without you knowing. Messy homes leave you feeling anxious, helpless and overwhelmed. But having an unmanageable home is rarely recognised as a significant cause of stress in our lives.
So why does mess lead us to stress so much?
1. Clutter bombards our brains with excessive stimuli, making our senses work overtime on things that aren’t important.
2. Clutter is really distracting, and draws our attention away from what our focus should be on.
3. Clutter makes it difficult to physically and mentally relax.
4. Clutter sends signals to our brains that our work isn’t done, so we just can’t shut off.
5. Clutter provides great hiding places for pests, leading to more stress if you have to deal with a pest problem. Cleaning also helps with pest control.
6. Clutter makes us panic because we never know for sure what it will take to get to the bottom of the pile.
7. Clutter creates the feeling of guilt and embarrassment, especially when we have visitors in our homes and we’re ashamed of the mess.
8. Clutter stops us being creative and productive by invading the open space that allows us to think, brain storm and solve problems.
9. Clutter is frustrating because it stops us finding what we need quickly.
10. Clutter causes stress when it causes health problems. Excessive clutter collects dust and other germs that can make you and your family ill.
Fortunately, clutter in our lives is one of the easiest stressors to fix. Here are some tips on how to get your home decluttered and your life stress free again.
· Get together as a family and tackle the clutter. If you’ve got mess everywhere, don’t do the job alone. It’s too overwhelming. Get the whole family involved and start with the room that everyone uses the most. Make each family member responsible for a different section. If you can’t rope anyone else in to help you, start with one area at a time and complete de-clutter that area before you move on to somewhere else. This gives you a sense of accomplishment as you have small, mini successes when you work your way through your home.
· Create designated spaces for the items you use most in your home so you can find them quickly and easily whenever you need them. Make these spaces in a drawer or cabinet. If you start storing things on open shelves or on top of your desk, you’re not removing the clutter that is not only in your home, but also in your mind.
· If you don’t use it, don’t want it, don’t need it then get rid of it! You can throw it away, recycle it or donate it. Just don’t keep it. If you do use it but only on the rare occasion, put it into storage in the loft or garage. Put a date on the box you use for storage, and if a year passes without you using it, it might be time to get rid.
· When you take something out of its designated space, make sure you put it back as soon as you’ve finished using it. This sounds like something really simple and straightforward, but it takes real practice and commitment to do this every time you use something.
· Make the experience fun. As you’re going around your home and cleaning things up, why not put on your favourite tunes. The more up-beat the better for de-cluttering. You’ll enjoy the music and it actually makes the time pass faster. You may even work faster than you would without music.
Remember that clutter doesn’t only apply to our physical environment in our homes. Mental clutter can be just as mentally debilitating and stressful as physical clutter. One of the most fundamental and useful tips for mental de-cluttering is just trying to focus on one thing at a time without letting other things get in the way. This is a hard thing to accomplish in this day and age, but it can be done. And it’s well worth all of that effort once you see how much you can get done and boosts your confidence when you feel great when the task is done.