How I Decluttered My Home to Help with My Mental Health

Your clutter problem and stress level are connected.

Photo by Lea Böhm on Unsplash

I know you’ve felt it too. The overwhelm. Especially in this pandemic. We are not meant to be so much to so many people at one time. We are stressed out and running on empty.

When I am in overwhelm mode, my home is usually one of the first things to suffer. The amount of junk on my floor is a direct relation to the number of things I am trying to balance in my life. Is it similar for you?

Clutter in your home can mess with your mind.

In the many times that I have felt hopeless and stuck, I was also stepping over piles of laundry and scattered items on the floor. Having clutter in your home can give you anxiety. It is a vicious cycle where you are overwhelmed and getting more overwhelmed when your house becomes messier and messier.

The junk in your house can be preventing you from moving forward, and your brain may be perceiving all this clutter as a potential threat. Your cortisol levels can even increase because of clutter. Your brain thinks it needs to fight.

I started to declutter my home a few months after lockdown. I was feeling depressed and tripping over my kids’ items that were all over the floor. I couldn’t find a place for anything because our cabinets and drawers were already full.

A simple truth that stopped me in my tracks: if you haven’t used something during a pandemic then when are you going to need it?

“Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.”

— Terri Guillemets

Removing clutter in your home can help you with improving focus and processing information as well as increase your productivity. By getting rid of unused items, you are taking an active part in getting your life back.

If you are feeling stuck as to where to start in removing clutter, let me introduce you to a technique my husband taught me.

The Random Box Technique

  1. Pick a room (I usually start with the living room).
  2. Get a random empty box.
  3. Put everything in the box that doesn’t belong in the room.
  4. Hide random boxes in a closet.
  5. Forget about items.
  6. Sort items in the box once the closet starts becoming full.

My husband and I had battled over the last steps of this random box technique until I realized that he was right about hiding and forgetting. Hiding the random box contents helps you separate your relationship with those items, and it might be easier to let that item go later on. Out of sight, out of mind.

When sorting your random box, get fierce on eliminating items. These items are holding you back in your productivity and focus as well as increasing your stress levels.

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Questions to ask when sorting the random box:

  1. Does this item have value and purpose?
  2. Can you find a home for this item?
  3. Can I purchase this item for $10 or less at a store?

If your answers look like No, No, Yes then this item has failed the random box sorting test and needs to get out.

Having that clutter-free room will help you feel better. Your brain will no longer be in overdrive mode processing extra information with all that stuff around.

When you wake up and realize that you have already taken care of the junk in your home, you can focus your attention on your goals and not on the clutter on your floor.

If you take care of the clutter, you may notice other benefits as well. It may help your social life. You will be able to invite people into your home and not cringe in the realization that you have dirty socks on your floor.

Ways to Keep the Clutter Out

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

If the above picture gives you a sense of peace and calm, then I encourage you to look into minimalism. Minimalism is owning and wanting fewer possessions.

You can continue to avoid culminating clutter by being strict as to what comes into your home. My husband and I often have “no spending” months where we try to only pay for food or experiences. It helps build creativity because we often repurpose or reuse items, we trade items with our friends and neighbors, and we eventually realize that we can do without.

Consider joining the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook as a way to get rid of some of your items when decluttering. Your town or city may have a local Buy Nothing group where you can offer your unused items. You don’t even need to leave your house, you can just list the item, put it on your porch and have someone come pick it up.

A Final Thought on Clutter: Start Right Now

There is a real connection between the clutter in your home and your mental health. Don’t keep letting the stress and unwanted items pile up. You can start today to make your home a more comfortable place.

You do not need to pay someone to come in to ask you where you want to put your piles of laundry. You can hire someone later on once your vision and your home become more clear.

I bet you even have an empty box sitting in your home right now. What better purpose can it serve than to help you feel more focused and productive in your life?

“Get rid of clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for.” — Katrina Mayer

Let’s find a random box, pick a room, set a timer for 20 minutes, and GO…


Published by elleinbloom

Hi, I'm a mom of two, passionate about writing, travel, and mental health. I feel the most powerful in my garden.

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