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Decluttering for Your Mental Health

Taking care of clutter

We should all be thankful for the increased awareness of mental health issues that we’ve enjoyed in recent years. When you think about it, mental and physical health should be equally important. But, while you visit the dentist twice a year, the doctor once a year, and take vitamins, do workouts and get a massage on occasion, all to benefit your body, when was the last time you did anything for your mental health?

Part of the problem is that mental health issues and their causes aren’t usually as obvious as their physical counterparts. If you’re a little out of shape, you can tell just by looking in the mirror. But if you’re a little depressed, you might not even know it and just feel like you’re having a bad week.

Clutter Causes Stress

When you walk into a cluttered room, it seems messy, unorganized, even dirty, which are all physical things. But what happens when you walk into a clean, tidy professionally decorated model home? You don’t necessarily notice that it’s tidy, organized and clean. Instead you feel calm, relaxed even inspired – all mental states.

While it’s rarely recognized as such, the problem with the cluttered room isn’t really its messiness, but the anxiety, helplessness and stress that the clutter can make you feel.

In “Why Mess Causes Stress”, Psychology Today outlines some of the reasons why clutter is bad for your mental health. From excessive stimuli that distract your senses and make them work harder, to making it difficult to relax and increasing your levels of frustration, clutter stresses you out in way more ways than you think.

So what can you do declutter and keep your sanity – or what’s left of it?

Here are just a few ways to tackle and manage the clutter in your home.

1. Make it a Family Affair

If clutter has reached the point of affecting your mental wellbeing, you should try not to tackle it on your own (not making any progress can be a problem in itself). Get others in the family involved. Not only will you declutter faster, but you’ll probably have more fun and a few bonding moments too.

2. Set Aside a Space for Frequently Used Items

Find a place that’s easy to access and find the things that you look for the most, like tape and cleaners. But, unlike your junk drawer, keep it organized and only for those most used items. It should be a ‘closed’ space, like a drawer or cupboard. ‘Open’ storage, like on shelves or a table, causes the same visual over-stimulation as full-on clutter.

3. If You Don’t Use, Want or Need Something, Get Rid of It

Don’t fool around on this one. The more you get rid of, whether you donate something, or recycle or sell it, the less chance it will have of adding to future, anxiety-causing clutter. If you know you only use something very occasionally, put in a box and find a place to store it out of day-to-day sight. If you have a lot of things like that, maybe you need to rent a storage unit.

4. Declutter Stuff You Don’t Think of as Clutter

Clutter isn’t always old papers and magazines. Maybe you like to find a memento everywhere you travel and proudly display them in the living room. Or maybe you just have too many pieces of furniture or wall art. In any case, thin the ‘herd’ of your belongings and feel the lightness enter your mind. Again, considering the number and size of these items, a storage unit might be the way to go, especially considering the relatively low cost compared to the relaxing payoff. Remember, even a cluttered or overcrowded storage space in your home can make you anxious.

If you’d like to learn more tips and tricks for decluttering your home and finding the right storage unit to help, call us here at Vault Self Storage. We’re happy to help you and answer any questions you have.

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