Why Decluttering is Good for Your Mental Health

Have you ever looked at a space in your home and instantly felt anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed? Have you ever cleaned a room and felt relieved, calm, and more focused? This is the difference between a cluttered, messy space and an organized, cleaned space. Decluttering can have major benefits for your mental health. 

When things are out of our control in our lives, often we feel anxious and overwhelmed. Cleaning and decluttering a space is a way of putting you back in control. It can be extremely cathartic and helpful for your mental wellbeing. 

decluttering for mental health

Some of the benefits of decluttering are:

1.) Better Focus — It is often difficult to find things in a cluttered environment. It can be stressful when you need something and you go to look for it. It can also be a distraction. If you have other important things you need to do but you are in a cluttered environment it can be difficult to accomplish those things. For example, you need to pay bills or read an important letter yet you keep feeling the need to get up and put something away or shuffle through things that are in front of you. You have probably noticed that it can be hard to have a serious conversation when there is a pile of unfolded laundry staring you in the face. Getting rid of any visual clutter can help you to focus better. 

2.) Better Self-Esteem — You might not feel very good about yourself if your home is messy. You likely feel out of control in your home and in your life. You feel like you have failed, after all, you can’t even keep your home clean (even if they are in no way related). Picking up your space can restore your self-esteem, competency, and feelings of pride. 

declutter organize towels

3.) Better Relationships — No one wants to invite a friend or family member over to a messy home. You may feel self-conscious if people drop by unannounced. If you have a decluttered, clean space, you are more comfortable and confident inviting people over. You are also likely to be more relaxed in general. You feel you are in control of your life and your home and that transfers to being calmer with others. 

4.) Better Health — Anyone who is sensitive to dust, mold, or other allergens knows how bad they can feel physically in a cluttered, dirty environment. By decluttering your space you minimize the number of areas where dust can gather and you feel better overall. 

5.) Better Lifestyle — It is much easier to cook a healthy meal in an organized kitchen. When you feel less stressed and overwhelmed in your space you are more likely to treat yourself better. You may feel like you have more time to exercise if you aren’t always trying to shuffle through clutter. People also tend to sleep better in a clean and tidy environment. 

Where do you start?

1.) Start small — Start with decluttering one part of your living space, maybe it is a drawer or a cabinet. Once you declutter one part the rest will feel more attainable. 

decluttering clothes start small

2.) Don’t go for perfect — It can be so easy to get caught in the cycle of perfectionism. Now that you have started the decluttering journey, you don’t want anything moved from its proper location. This kind of mindset is only going to create more stress. Instead, allow yourself grace — it is ok to leave out the items you use most often (the toothpaste can be left on the counter, it is ok) and it is ok for things to be out of place for a bit. Avoid comparing yourself to others. 

3.) Start a schedule — Pick one day a week or spend 30 minutes a day on decluttering. Once you establish a routine it will be easier to stick to it and to keep things tidy long-term. 

Struggling with decluttering? 

If you are struggling with the clutter in your home, or you are having trouble parting with unnecessary items, you may want to consider seeing a counseling professional. A counselor can help you to determine the best course of action in decluttering your space. They can also help to identify any underlying concerns that are making it difficult for you to move forward. 

Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania? 

Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to get started to feeling better. Better mental health is just around the corner. We are here for you.

Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC

Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: alison@moveforwardlancaster.com.