When your physical and mental space is cluttered, stress takes over. With spring around the corner, it is the perfect time to declutter your home or office. But did you know this can improve your mental health as well?
Physical clutter equals mental clutter. It’s impossible to have a clear head when your space is dirty or unorganized. When someone comes to me to learn meditation or mindfulness, one of the first things I have people do is clean their house and keep their primary living space organized and clutter-free. Eliminating external clutter makes it much easier to meditate and be mindful, and it will also improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and more.
Here are three spring cleaning tips to help reduce stress and anxiety brought on by clutter:
Tip 1: Start Small
Begin with your desk or the room you spend the most time in. Commit to keeping your primary work or living area clean and clutter-free. Once you do this, it will become easier to tackle those other places that need more work.
Tip 2: Prioritize Positive Emotions
If something you have doesn’t make you feel good, for any reason, get rid of it to make space for something that does. This could be a piece of art, furniture, clothes, dishes, or just about anything. The stuff we have becomes a trigger for different emotional states, so when you choose to only have things around that evoke happiness or contentment, you create that in your life.
Tip 3: Breathe
Even cleaning your space can be daunting, so take a moment to breathe deeply and focus on the space you want to create for yourself. Breathing is connected to good mental health and lowering stress levels, so take a deep breath or 10 before you start. It will help you focus and get motivated.
Looking for other ways to relieve the anxiety of clearing up clutter? Jane Stoller recently shared her tips in A Professional Organizer Reveals How Clutter Affects Your Mental Health. Here are a few of her strategies to help relieve decluttering stress:
- Focus. Find a way to eliminate distractions when you are working on priority work.
- Schedule shopping trips. Otherwise, you end up with unnecessary stuff.
- Keep your bedroom minimal and decluttered. Where you wake up has a big impact on how the rest of your day goes.
- Rework clutter traps. Entryways can typically accumulate clutter, so assign designated hooks or bins, and don’t let what does not belong outstay the welcome.
- Go through your closet. My mantra is the closet is one of the first places in the morning you can start saving or losing time and that can affect our confidence.
- Remove unwanted apps on your phone. If you’re like most people, your phone is with you at all times, and you spend hours staring at the screen. Delete what you don’t need.
- Deal with physical mail immediately. Manage what comes into your house, and deal with it before it becomes clutter.
- Unsubscribe to emails. The less spam mail you get, the less stress you feel. Unsubscribe to what you don’t need.
- Don’t save computer files if you don’t need them. Often, we save files on our computer, because we think it does not take up space, but our computer is also valuable real estate.