I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently rediscovered how much stuff I have.
Working from home, staying socially distanced, and at times fully quarantined provided a lot of time to sit back and take stock of my possessions. It gave my parents time to sort through bins of sentimental items from when I was young. My friends who are parents have had lots of time to comb through outgrown clothes and toys.
Often we don’t know how much we have… until it becomes an obstacle… until it becomes clutter.
Not only does it become a physical obstacle, but it also has a negative effect on your mental health.
The Not-Great Feelings of Clutter
The word clutter has a negative connotation. Images that arise with the word clutter are those of confusion, things not being arranged, neat, or orderly. It reduces how effective people can function in their surroundings.
This is not good for our emotional health.
Clutter is associated with negative, overwhelming, non-productive emotions. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter explains, “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.”
Unfortunately, clutter is a huge source of our daily tension.
Clutter begins in a few different ways. One cause is sentimental items we choose to hold on to. These items carry with them the memory and emotion. This intensifies with the loss of someone dear to us. Another reason clutter appears is because of lack of effort – either not putting things away, or not looking for something (but just buying another one). These things compound in our lives until it affects our day-to-day activities.
Mental Health Benefits of Decluttering