What’s inside this article: A look at how to identify clutter, the different types of clutter, and how it negatively affects your mental health. Then, 7 ways to start removing physical and mental clutter from your life to help you feel better.
Are your home and life cluttered?
Anything could be considered clutter if it:
- Doesn’t have a designated place
- No longer serves a purpose to you
- Is broken
- Is disorganized
- Has become challenging to manage
Clutter isn’t just having a lot of physical objects lying around. Your emotional and mental baggage can also clutter your life and affect your mental health and stress levels.
Clutter could be a broken vase, jeans that no longer fit, or those empty shampoo bottles in your shower. But it could also be poor habits, resentment, overwhelm, unhealthy relationships, unpaid debts, etc.
How Does Clutter Affect Mental Health?
Clutter of all sorts – physical and mental, can cause excessive stress.
This makes it harder to think clearly, can cause anxiety and feelings of overwhelm; it can even cause lower energy levels.
Your home should be your haven, a safe place where you can relax and destress, but if your house is cluttered and disorganized, that isn’t possible. It becomes an additional source of stress in your life.
Eliminating Clutter From Your Life
If you believe the clutter in your life is affecting your mental health, leaving you more stressed, and adding chaos to your life, start by removing physical clutter.
1. Evaluate your belongings
- Do I use this often?
- Does this make me happy?
- Is this taking up too much space?
- Are there too many things in this area already?
- Will someone else get better use of this than me?
- I like it, but do I NEED it?
- If I remove this from my home, will it reduce clutter?
Check out these 12 tips for living minimally.
2. Clean Daily
Even if it’s just a 10 minute tidy – clean something every single day. You’re more likely to enjoy your home and feel relaxed in your home when it’s clean.
One of my favorite cleaning tips is never to leave a room messier than when you walked in. Doing something as small as picking up or straightening out one item before you leave the room is all it takes.
Start Removing Mental Clutter
It’s almost surprising how easy it is to eliminate some of the mental clutter and negativity that we see in the run of a day.
3. Digital Detox
That person with completely opposite political views as you whose posts are always aggravating when they show up on your Facebook? Unfriend. Don’t think about them again.
That girl with the “perfect” life on Instagram? Unfollow.
If it doesn’t bring you happiness or serve a purpose – stop exposing yourself to it.
4. Do a Brain Dump
It’s really simple – a brain dump is an activity where you just “dump” all the contents of your brain onto a piece of paper.
Like your e-mail inbox – most of what comes out during a brain dump will be junk. But, getting it out of your head will make it easier to focus on the important tasks, and you’ll feel more productive because of it.
5. Keep a strong support system
Your friends and family who support you and are positives in your life are important so keep them close and rely on them.
But, if you have people in your life who have negative energy, toxic behavior, or who bring you down, then it is time to get rid of them.
6. Adopt healthy lifestyle decisions
Your physical health affects your mental health.
Lowering sugar intake, having a healthy sleep routine, drinking enough water, and regular exercise all help you feel better mentally and physically.
7. Do Shadow Work
Shadow work is the process of working all the rejected or “dark” parts of yourself. This includes traumas, negative personality traits, or anything else you’ve stuffed down and not dealt with in your life. This is your shadow self, and it needs to be worked.
We all have a shadow self that we can work on, and there are many ways to do this. From therapy to journaling, to smudging yourself.