Decluttering can be nice to give you a tidy home, but do you know why decluttering is important for self care?
Let’s take a few steps back first. I know when I am not at my best, my space usually isn’t either.
I have had bouts of sadness or depression in the past. Or even just times of high stress and distraction, and typically when I am in those places I have a hard time finding energy to maintain order in my home.
How Clutter Causes Anxiety
This turns into a vicious cycle, because being surrounded by clutter can actually cause anxiety. Yes, you heard that right. Clutter in your home might actually be a source of anxiety in your life, and you didn’t even realize it.
So though it’s true when we’re not at our best we might be a bit more messy, and it’s ok to be easy on ourselves, we can lessen overall anxiety in our lives by keeping our space a little more free.
The Definition Of Clutter
The technical definition of clutter is untidy and crowded. Clutter is all the extra stuff that does not have a place. It is typically disorganized, or just exhibits itself as excess stuff.
We can have cluttered kitchens, bathrooms, homes and offices.
We can also have digital, emotional, social and mental clutter. All of these things crowd our thoughts and lives with stuff that isn’t our priority.
Why Decluttering Is Important For Self Care
If you want to know why decluttering is important for self care, try thinking about a time when being in a messy space gave you anxiety. It can be any kind of clutter or mess in your life.
How Physical Clutter Causes Stress
Clutter is more stuff, which equals more work. The more you have the more you need to take care of. It makes everything more difficult.
The kitchen is harder to clean, the living room is more difficult to keep up with. Dusting, organizing and taking care of.
Did you ever come back to your desk with a stack of messy papers on it? Or finish cleaning the living room only to have the 2 year old dump a bag of flour in the kitchen? Or had SO MANY apps on your phone that you had trouble finding the one that you were looking for?
How Mental Clutter Causes Stress
If we have too much mental clutter then we do not have enough space to process our day to day tasks and emotions that crop up.
If I am too focused and have too much to do, when I get blind sided by unexpected things (which happens all the time because that’s life!) I tend to push those things to the side to deal with my “priorities.”
And then processing never becomes a priority because I feel like I have too many other things to think about.
Over time these little pieces of straw break the camel’s back, and our emotions come out in unexpected ways because we didn’t process the feeling where we met it in the first place.
Decluttering our space, mental and physical, is a great way to give us a sturdy foundation for thriving mental health.
If you are struggling, a messy space is only going to make it more difficult to process and manage difficult emotions or life experiences.
How To Declutter For Self Care
Now that we know why decluttering is important for self care, let’s talk about some ways that we can declutter in our lives to focus on taking care of ourselves better.
Declutter Your Physical Space
I think when people think of the word decluttering that their physical space is what they think of. Decluttering your entire space can be overwhelming though.
Set Small Goals
In order to successfully declutter a disorganized space, especially if you have a lot of work ahead of you, is to break it up into small manageable tasks.
So when I talk to people about decluttering, I never tell them to clean the bedroom or declutter the kitchen. I always suggest starting with small spaces, like the top of your dresser or that cliche drunk drawer in the kitchen.
Streamline Your Choices
After decluttering, or even while you are in the process of it, it is important to stop the downward spiral by not continuing to collect new things. Think about what you need and do not buy anything else.
Make lists and stick to it. You might even consider a “no buy” rule for 30 days to get into the habit of not shopping or bringing new things into the home.
It can be hard to make these choices, but always remember to think about what you want in life, and not what you want right NOW.
Declutter Your Mental Space
Decluttering your mental space is going to be a a lifelong challenge. The best way to start decluttering your mental space is to try and practice a little bit of mindfulness everyday.
This will get you into the habit of practicing self care outside of actual decluttering your physical space.
Practice mindfulness by being in the moment and focusing fully on one thing at a time. It can be a meditation practice, but that is certainly just the tip of the iceberg.
You can practice mindfulness by sitting down alone without any technology and enjoying a meal without any distractions. Focus on the taste, the feel, the smell, how your stomach feels, the way your jaw moves.
Generally when I suggest people journal they stop listening to me. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it feels like a chore and a lot of people just don’t like to write.
But free writing is therapeutic and it can be helpful to start following your thoughts to process emotions. To declutter for mental health, you need to stop piling up unprocessed emotions, and that means looking at the day or examining things as they happen.
Journaling can help us be consistent in examining our day.
Alison’s Notebook is a community that specializes in “the awkward art self improvement.”
Their mission is to help women live their best lives through simple tips and soulful inspiration including personal development, self care, simplifying, productivity and how to save and make money.
For more resources on decluttering, self care and how to minimize your wardrobe check out AlisonsNotebook.com.
Related Posts on Decluttering:
- 13 Signs You Need to Clear the Clutter
- 3 Actionable Declutter Hacks You Can Take Today
- Declutter Your Home Checklist
- Have You Tried the Fifty Dollars Declutter Challenge