Clutter, Mental Health and Wellbeing
Survey results from an Australian Institute, Stuff Happens:
- 42% of respondents agreed that their clutter makes them feel either anxious, depressed or guilty.
- 88% of homes have at least one cluttered room.
- 29% said that clutter stops them enjoying their time at home.
- One in five (21%) said that clutter in their home impedes their ability to move around the place.
A lot of what these respondents felt, relate to my sentiments back then and even now. In my first Decluttering post, I wrote about the beginning of my journey. Just because I’ve started this journey, it doesn’t mean my house is completely spotless 24/7. That’s when I realised, maintenance is something not many people talk about. How can I keep my place tidy after decluttering? After a few years of learning, testing and trying, I have some tips to share with you, so keep reading!
What to do when things start to pile up.
1. Take inventory.
Choose one room or section to focus on. What items are piling up? Whether it’s books, dishes or laundry, make a mental note.
2. Put each item back in it’s place.
If from time to time, you leave items in places they shouldn’t be (like me), put the items back in their place. For instance, pens should be stored in a pencil case or pen jar. Socks back in the sock section of your drawer. Laundry in the laundry basket… you get the picture. If there is no home for this item, either discard it, re-use or donate to charity, family and friends who need it.
You’ll be surprised that once you make this a habit, your space will stay clean with minimal effort. Preventing things from piling up = less feelings of overwhelm, guilt and anxiousness. Stop the cycle.
3. Don’t be a hero.
Often times, we feel obligated to clean EVERYTHING all at once, to stop feeling guilty or embarrassed. I don’t suggest this – unless you have the energy. If you stop half-way or get distracted, you’ll only feel more guilty for not doing it all.
Take it one step at a time. Finish one section, then move on to the next. Anyway, one section that’s tidy, is better than none!
4. Check for appropriate storage.
When I moved in with my boyfriend, I had stacks of books in a box because I had no shelf. Once I had enough money, I bought a shelf and finally have a spot for my books.
When your items are sorted in specific categories, check whether you have appropriate storage solutions. There are many videos on Facebook and YouTube that could give you ideas.
Questions I ask myself: Is this useful? Does this fit with my lifestyle? Can I re-purpose this? Is it an item I enjoy? If the answer is no for any question, I either donate, discard or sell it online.
Next, let’s look at ways to stay motivated when cleaning, organising or decluttering.
How to stay motivated.
Remember why you’re doing it.
For me, I clean because I don’t want my living space to be overwhelmed with clutter. If you don’t have a reason to clean, I would suggest to watch decluttering shows like Minimalism, Consumed, Hoarders and Extreme Clutter. Sometimes we resonate with people who are in a similar situation that we are in. Watch a few episodes and reflect. What parts of the show did you find useful? What parts of the show don’t apply to you? Years ago, I knew that having piles and piles of clothes without storage wasn’t the best idea, but I didn’t know that I could just declutter them – I was taught to keep/treasure items to the point of being overwhelmed with clutter.
Capitalise on the urge to tidy.
If you’re feeling the slightest urge to declutter/clean, I suggest to capitalise! There’s no better time than right now.
Reward > chore.
Some people may view cleaning as a chore. For others, it can be a source of catharsis and relaxation. For me, I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. Thinking about needing to clean makes it feel like a chore, but when I’m actually cleaning, I zone out and enjoy the repetition. By the end of it, I feel rewarded because now I have a tidy home, ready for cooking, creating or even lounging. So keep that in mind: if your living space/house/apartment/room is tidy, there is more time to enjoy life! I am not encouraging you to clean 24/7, I am encouraging to take small steps each day to living a clutter free life.
Choose a colour palette.
This year, I have been transitioning from an all black, grey and red palette into colours including white, beige and orange. I spent some time making my own colour palettes I liked and searched on Pinterest for further inspiration.
Sticking to a colour palette has helped me purchase items I thoroughly enjoy and use, time and time again. Colour preferences may change throughout the seasons – that’s fine! What I want you to remember though, is having a palette-base will take away the guesswork when you’re shopping, thrifting or re-purposing. Keep it simple!
Ask for help and have fun.
I know, it can be daunting and you may feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. But if you have people in your life that you can trust, REACH OUT. Life’s struggles don’t have to be experienced alone. We are on this Earth to help each other. Perhaps a friend or family member can do the dishes while you tidy the dining area. More pairs of hands are better than one! You can make it a fun activity by scheduling a lunch or special takeaway dinner! 2 in 1 deal: a tidy home as well as spending time with people you care about.
Finding balance through living life simply has improved my mental, emotional and physical health. Remember, nobody is perfect and no home is perfect, so don’t hold yourself to such expectations. If you are cleaning today, don’t forget to have fun with it!
Stay well friends! x