When we are bombarded with clutter after we return home at the end of a long day, the last thing we feel is peace. I would even go as far as to say the clutter is an added source of anxiety.
Picture your dream home. Now picture the home in which you live. What are the differences?
Aside from the swimming pool, huge walk-in closet and grand chef’s kitchen, the main thing you most likely noticed was the fact that your dream home didn’t have piles of shoes by the door, stacks of paper on the kitchen table or drawers overflowing with junk.
The cost of clutter
Most of us don’t realize the extent to which clutter can have a negative impact on our lives until we start throwing things away.
When our homes are cluttered, we waste time looking for things we need, and waste money buying things we already have because we can’t find them. We constantly feel like we can’t keep up because there is too much “stuff” that needs to be cleaned or maintained.
Rather than enjoying a day off, we spend our free time cleaning, and the visual clutter never gives our brains a chance to rest. Overstimulation becomes a serious problem.
Mental side effects
Studies show women are far more likely to be stressed, anxious, sick and overwhelmed when their possessions start to take over their life. For those of us who also suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism or any other mental health issues, the toll that physical clutter takes on the mind is astronomical.
To me, decluttering is the ultimate form of self-care.
This is why self-care is so important. We tend to throw around the term “self-care” when talking about bubble baths and massages, but what if I told you decluttering your physical environment is one of the best forms of self-care?
When I started on my own decluttering journey, I was suffering from severe depression and debilitating panic attacks. I knew something needed to change, and it seemed to me the only thing in my life I could control at the time was my physical environment, so I began ruthlessly editing my possessions.
I started with something small: my guest bathroom cabinet. It didn’t hold much, but after cluttering, I had one bag of trash and one bag of donations to get rid of. As soon as those two small bags left my house, I instantly felt the release of a weight I had been carrying around for years.
Starting with small wins
I was hooked. I organized what was left into a couple of cute baskets so everything had a home, and I showed everyone I knew pictures of what I had just done. That small win felt like a huge accomplishment.
I continued on in my journey, trying to tackle as many small projects as I could to gain momentum. Once I had the process down and felt I could emotionally handle more, I was able to move onto the harder areas like toys, office paperwork and sentimental items that still had meaning, but that I didn’t necessarily need to keep.
Since starting my journey four years ago, we’ve recently downsized. I was able to get rid of more things without feeling bad because the process has made me realize how much I really don’t need. Decluttering is not just about having less though — it is about making space in your home and in your life for the things you truly love.
I can come home after a long day, get comfy and actually relax because I am not surrounded with unnecessary clutter. I can play a board game with my family, go on a hike or read on the couch with a blanket because now I have more time to pursue my own goals and less stress from trying to keep up with everything. To me, decluttering is the ultimate form of self-care.
Alicia Bias, Owner, Lux Simplicity Pro Organizing (@luxsimplicityproorganizing)