Principle #6 – Move to Action and Regain Control of Your Life
We live in challenging times, and it’s easy to feel out of control. Decluttering may help bring control and calm to your life. Being surrounded by clutter can add stress to an already stressful life. Decluttering is a form of self-care. When we get rid of excess clutter in our living areas and our minds, it helps our mental health. Here we go…
Have you ever visited a friend’s house that was cluttered and messy and maybe even dirty? How did you feel when you left? I want to go home and clean my house! This kind of environment plays with our mental well-being. Clutter affects our concentration, and it can make many of us feel a little claustrophobic and anxious. It can even lead to feelings of guilt about not being organized.
The pandemic and unrest in our country left me unsettled and out of control. I was in a negative space in my head for a while and had to find the light. I stepped back and figured out how to gain control of my life. So, I decided the best place to start was my home.
My husband went to San Diego to visit his mom last month…the first time since the pandemic started…she’s doing fantastic, by the way. While he was away, I spent time alone to re-center, and I went room by room in my home and got rid of the clutter. I bagged up old clothes, candle holders, party decorations, DVDs, and old electronics and donated them. When it was finished, I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. We don’t realize that our homes get cluttered little by little until it feels heavy and overwhelming.
“The more stuff I donated, the more I was able to breathe. The more trash I threw away, the more weight I felt lifted. The more stuff I took out of our home, the more I was able to see a new life. The more uncluttered I lived, the more joy I found.” – Zina Harrington
There are many reasons why we clutter. Maybe we don’t have time to organize or have small children. But there could be something deeper than that. At times, I tend to hoard because I spend a lot of money on those party decorations, so I feel I have to keep them because I will reuse them. But seriously, how many more times am I going to need decorations that say, “Cheers to 60 Years?” When I retired, it took me five years to get rid of my business clothes that I never wore again. But I spent a lot of money on them…right? Oh brother. I’ve reframed my thinking from “I spent a lot of money” to “I’m helping someone else by donating.” It’s helped to connect my mind with my heart. How awesome is that?
“If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.” – Unknown
It can be an overwhelming job to declutter your home. I find that if I bite off small chunks at a time, like starting with a closet, then a room, eventually it’s finished. Having a sense of accomplishment is the best feeling, and the bonus is, your house is free from clutter…which is one less thing to be anxious about.
Now, how do we keep from cluttering again? We will continue to buy things to bring into our homes because that’s just what we do. We may be in the habit of buying something and not putting them away, so it stays on the table forever. Maybe rethinking before buying, do I really need that, or if I buy this, what will I get rid of? When we know our buying habits, we can control the clutter from coming into our homes.
Often, we feel like we don’t have time to clean every day. But, finding ten to fifteen minutes to put things away at the end of every day, the clutter stays under control. I organized my grandson’s bedroom with labeled bins and am teaching him to play with one container at a time, then clean it up before he pulls out another. He does pretty well and doesn’t fuss about cleaning up. It’s less overwhelming to put things away when we are finished with them then the clutter doesn’t build up.
Our homes are supposed to be our safe-havens. A place of happiness, peace, and positive energy. For many of us, clutter brings chaos, anxiety, and even shame or guilt. So, start small and clear out the clutter and relieve the extra stress. Because life can be challenging, raising families, and making ends meet can be stressful. These are circumstances that we can’t always control. But for our mental well-being, we can gain control of our clutter.
Freedom is possible!