Clutter gets our attention. We can’t help but see it and feel it and that makes it hard to focus on important tasks. Researchers have found that being around clutter and disorganization makes it harder for our brains to focus. It can be especially tough for people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)
If your closets are bursting or your desk is piled with papers, that chaos may be causing you to feel anxious and depressed. Makes sense. If your space is over-loaded with stuff, your brain is very likely feeling overloaded. Often a cluttered home “makes” us feel embarrassed and shameful. Often clients share that their clutter is taking a toll on their relationships. Clutter often causes us shut people out due to embarrassment and shame and that can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.
We don’t have to suffer with clutter. There is most definitely hope! In honor of World Mental Health Day, here are 5 tips for how to de-clutter your space and mind…
1. PICK ONE SMALL AREA TO DE-CLUTTER.
Choose a SMALL space to de-clutter… your bathroom counter or under your kitchen sink, etc. DO NOT say “I’m going to de-clutter my entire kitchen/bathroom/closet today” because such a big job isn’t done in 1 day. It’s setting yourself up for failure which just adds to anxiety and depression. Take it in small steps for success.
2. TAKE EVERYTHING OUT/OFF THE AREA
If you’re working under your kitchen sink, take EVERYTHING out from under the sink. EVERYTHING. You must take it apart before you can put it back together.
3. PUT LIKE THINGS TOGETHER
Now that everything is out from under your sink, you have a perfect, empty space to create order and simplicity. Put all ‘LIKE” things together. All of the dishwasher pods together, all of the sponges together, all of the cleaning supplies together, etc. Make piles of each kind of thing you’ve been storing under your kitchen sink.
4. TOSS BROKEN, EXPIRED AND EMPTY ITEMS INTO THE TRASH!
Anything broken, expired or empty goes into the trash. Don’t keep the empty bottle to remind you to buy more! Write “Buy Windex” in your To-Do List and toss the empty bottle.
5. PUT ITEMS IN BASKETS OR CONTAINERS
Find baskets and/or containers YOU ALREADY HAVE and put like things together in one basket or container. Don’t put it off because you want to go get matching containers. You can do that later. Once things are in their own container, put the containers back under the sink. Arrange in the most visually open and pleasing way you can.
Congratulations!!! You did it! Step back and appreciate your good work! Don’t minimize it. Maximize the good feelings of accomplishment and peacefulness. Feel proud of yourself! Feels great, right? Happy World Mental Health Day!