The connection between how physical clutter impacts our mental health is an area that is often overlooked. However, we all know it well! Stress cleaning and the phrase “a cluttered space means a cluttered mind” shows we already get it! Growing up as a military kid, I found myself keeping a lot of things which ended up over time being A LOT of clutter. They were memories I didn’t want to let go of. Later, when my mom died in 2018, I found myself faced with a lot of my own and her clutter too. It gave me a whole different perspective on clutter that I want to share with you. Let’s explore a unique take on clutter and its impact on our lives.
What Does Our Clutter Mean To Us?
Let’s explore our emotional connection to clutter. If we think about it most of the items in our home carry a piece of our story. From the memories connected to a souvenir from a trip to the sentiments tied to a handwritten letter, each item can carry emotion and a piece of us. This can make the decluttering process feel like letting go of parts of our identity. The process feels like emotionally unraveling years of history and all we want is space in our basement to store more things. HA!
For some, clutter may symbolize safety or the comfort of leaving things out. Seeing a home feel lived in brings us comfort. For others, it might represent their accomplishments or possessions. “I earned these things!” Understanding our unique relationship with clutter can be the first step towards addressing it.
Physical Clutter Impacts Our Mental Health
Whether we like it or not, physical clutter impacts our mental health. Seeing the unfinished projects around us gives us a sense of incompletion and like we are failing. It adds stress as we struggle to find the item(s) we need in that moment. It makes us feel physical weighed down even though it’s not literally on our shoulders.
When we start to understand and address our clutter, it acts as a catalyst for personal growth. By recognizing the emotions and memories tied to our possessions, we can begin to detach our identities from them. This process can also help us reduce stress by eliminating the physical experience of our worries and fears. We see that throwing something away or giving it to charity doesn’t mean we have lost a part of ourselves. Our identities are not wrapped up in the things. Our identities are who we are regardless of what we have.
Beware Of The Super Clean Social Media Homes
The influence of social media on how we see our clutter cannot be underestimated. We’re constantly bombarded with images of perfectly organized homes, which we think reflects on the owner in a positive light. Then, we look at our home and think what’s wrong with us that we can’t do that too. It makes us feel even more overwhelmed.
This pressure to maintain a picture-perfect living space can contribute to our stress levels. How many of us have a To Do list that keeps getting pushed off because it means decluttering and cleaning up somewhere in our home that we’d rather avoid? I know I do! Though it can be motivating to watch people clean up their homes or show a hack on how to declutter, be mindful if you start to criticize yourself as you watch. Let it motivate you versus tear you down.
You Matter And So Does Your Space
While clutter may seem like a simple issue of organization, it has major impact on our mental well-being and personal growth. By addressing our clutter, we can start to untangle the ties between our possessions, our identities, and our stress levels. As we navigate through this complex maze, we can see a clearer, more balanced path towards mental well-being. Take the time to take care of you and your space with the mindset that you are doing it to support your mental health because you matter!
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