Declutter For Your Mental Health

decluttering your home

I have just had the wonderful and fortunate experience of living overseas for 3 months. As much as I would love to go on and on about how amazing it was, I would like to bring attention to ‘stuff’! The stuff we hold onto physically and how it affects us mentally. For whilst I was away, I was, in essence, living out of a suitcase. I only had with me what I could carry. Yet, it made no difference to my day to day living and enjoyment of life.

Coming home, I therefore realised I don’t need so much stuff.

With programmes such as Sort Your Life Out, focusing on the overwhelm clutter creates and how it leads to stress, anxiety and lack of time for family, friends and self, it emphasises the need to get rid of the excess stuff we hold onto.

I appreciate it is easier to say get rid of everything you don’t need than doing it and it is hard to decide what stays and what goes. However, I think it’s really important to emphasise the effect clutter has on our mental health. Holding onto things for ‘just in case’; ‘feeling bad if you throw it’; ‘letting people down’; ‘being unappreciative’ or whatever reason you have ends up in a position of stalemate with nothing being let go of and you are still overwhelmed with stuff.

Without being callous, look at an item and really ask yourself why you are holding onto it, what is this object giving to you, what is this object contributing to your life? I often think we do need to ask deeper questions about why we hold onto something rather than just ask the popular question “does this bring me joy?”

Whilst in essence it’s not a bad question, I think we hold onto things for many reasons other than joy and that is worth exploring. Once you understand why you are holding onto something, you can then give yourself permission to let it go. Know you are not being a bad person by removing it from your life.

When clearing out clutter, be patient. Start small. There can be a temptation, especially at the start of spring which is traditionally when we Spring Clean, to do everything at once. This can lead to exhaustion and a big pile of stuff which you have lost interest in sorting! Contributing to more chaos.

What can be useful is keeping a bigger picture in mind, a vision of a clutter-free house, the ability to create systems to keep on top of everything, more time to enjoy your home, less stress, more calm… ask yourself why do you want a decluttered house, what will it give to you?

Coming back to myself, with the realisation that I don’t need so much stuff, I have been bagging things up and getting rid of what is not necessary. As a naturally messy person (according to my family!), clearing stuff has been wonderful for creating a home which works. By which I mean, it is easy to keep tidy, to clean and I also know where everything is.

I encourage you to spend time with your home giving it love and attention.

If you are a health and wellbeing coach, working with clients, I actively encourage you to bring focus to your clients home and ask if it supports them or not. If not, work with them to declutter and put systems in place.

Ultimately a decluttered home is good for your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

For more about how to spring clean and declutter your mind, body and home, click here.

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