Clutter can be a big problem for many people. It can cause them to feel stressed and anxious because they have so many items to take care of at once. It can also be mentally taxing to try and decide what should stay and what should go.
If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by clutter, it’s important to understand the root causes of your problem. Once you know what’s causing the clutter, you can start taking steps towards a healthier, more orderly lifestyle!
You might also like:
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- How to Declutter Without Feeling Guilty: 8 Ways to Eliminate Decluttering Guilt
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- The Real Cost of Clutter: 27 Shocking Clutter Statistics
- A Minimalist List Of Things To Get Rid Of
- 120 Easy Things to Declutter Right Now (Free Checklist)
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We all have those days where it feels like we’re constantly juggling too many things. And when our homes are cluttered, it only makes things worse.
Clutter is more than just an eyesore. It can also be a major source of stress. And that stress can cause serious health problems down the road.
If you want to know why there’s so much clutter in your life, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Which areas of life are causing you to feel overwhelmed? How does this feeling affect other areas of your life?
You might think that your life would be easier if you had less stuff to manage. And that’s true to an extent: having fewer possessions frees up time and energy for other, more productive activities (like exercise and meditation). But if you’re looking to get rid of clutter, it’s important to understand why you’re feeling overwhelmed in the first place.
- What is clutter and how does it affect us
- Why do we accumulate clutter in the first place?
- Getting started when feeling overwhelmed by clutter
- How to avoid accumulating clutter in the future
What is clutter and how does it affect us
As an outsider, you might think that your friend or family member has it easy because they seem to have all the free time in the world. But appearances can be deceiving. If someone’s living space is cluttered, then chances are, their mind is completely overwhelmed too.
Clutter doesn’t just affect us physically – it also affects our thoughts and emotions. You might feel stressed out by all the stuff you have to manage on a daily basis, and that stress can make it more difficult to relax, let alone focus on your career or education.
We can also develop irrational beliefs about our clutter: we worry that we’ll forget what’s in the pile of papers on our desk, or that we’ll lose the items we own. This kind of thinking can make us feel like we truly are “lost” in clutter, and it’s no wonder why some people develop anxiety disorders because of their problems with organisation.
Understanding how our brains work is a good starting point for dealing with clutter problems. All of us have a certain amount of “mental bandwidth” that we can dedicate to different activities in our lives.
When you’re doing something very simple, like taking care of your daily grooming routine, it doesn’t take much mental energy to complete the task. That’s why some people are able to do their hair every morning without even thinking about it.
But when you’re doing something more complicated, like balancing your checkbook or writing a report for work, it takes up quite a lot of this mental bandwidth. And that’s why we get stressed out by such tasks: because we don’t have much (if any) spare bandwidth to handle other things in our lives.
Combine this with the fact that humans are “wired” for instant gratification, and it’s no wonder why we get stressed out by cluttered living spaces. We want everything to be perfect right now, even though our brains are telling us that this is impossible.
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Why do we accumulate clutter in the first place?
So how did things get this bad in the first place? Well, there are several reasons why people accumulate clutter. They’re worth understanding because they can also help us figure out how to handle our own cluttered living spaces:
Clutter can be a sign of other underlying mental health problems that have nothing to do with organisation and cleanliness. Those who suffer from depression, for example, might feel like they don’t have the motivation to maintain their living spaces. And those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may spend so much time thinking about their possessions that they’re unable to think about what’s important in life.
Some people accumulate clutter because it makes them feel safe and secure. It’s easy to understand why this happens: if you’re surrounded by so much stuff that it makes your living space feel small, then you can’t possibly be lonely. And when our minds are clouded with negativity, we have a difficult time seeing clearly and making good decisions about what should stay or go.
Read also: 9 Ways to Find The Motivation to Declutter
Some people accumulate clutter because they don’t have any other hobbies or interests to take their attention away from their living space. When you’re constantly surrounded by the things you own, then it’s easy for your mind to focus on them rather than moving forward with your life.
And others accumulate clutter because there is a constant societal pressure to consume and to own. Brands and advertisements constantly bombard us with the message that we need to own more stuff in order to be happy, despite the fact that our real needs (like food and shelter) can easily be taken care of.
Getting started when feeling overwhelmed by clutter
Perhaps you’ve already realised that your clutter problem is getting in the way of your quality of life. Or maybe you simply want to take small steps forward so that you can start feeling more in control of your living space. Either way, these tips will help you start decluttering your space so that you can move in a healthier, more organised direction.
1. Adjust your mindset
You don’t need to look back on the past and wallow in how much stuff you’ve brought into your home. Adjusting your mindset will help you take immediate action in the right direction.
Accept that you won’t be able to “clean up” your living space overnight. Tackling all of your clutter problems will likely require a series of small steps forward. By breaking down your goals into smaller pieces, you can make it easier to feel positive about what you’re trying to accomplish.
2. Rethink your definition of “neat”
Some people get stressed out by the fact that their living space might not look perfectly clean. But don’t forget our definition of what makes a room neat: for most, it means simply having enough available space so that you can move around easily.
3. Join forces with other people in your household
Tackling a clutter problem with a partner or friend can be a great way to encourage one another to move forward in the right direction. It makes it easier to delegate tasks and responsibilities and ensures that you have an active support system in your corner.
4. Declutter one area of your living space at a time
There are several different parts to any living space, and it can be overwhelming to try to focus on them all at once. Instead, start small and work your way forward.
Break things down into smaller steps by first tackling the easiest areas (like your bedside table or bookshelves). By working with small spaces, you can learn to take pride in what you’ve accomplished and gain momentum for when it comes time to move forward.
5. Don’t beat yourself up over past mistakes
We all tend to hold on to things that we should have thrown away years ago, but this doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty about how long your clutter problem has been going on. Admitting that you’re struggling is a big step forward, and figuring out what can be done to change the way you feel about your living space will help you move forward in the right direction.
How to avoid accumulating clutter in the future
Now that we know what the root of our clutter problem is and where to start when overwhelmed by clutter, it’s important to carry on the good work and ensure you never get this overwhelmed by clutter in the future.
1. Take the time to stop and think about whether you really need something
Before buying anything, pause for a moment and ask yourself: do I really need this? You might be surprised by how little things add up over time. Asking yourself this question may prevent you from making impulsive purchases that lead to more clutter in your living space.
2. Don’t let the allure of sales trick you into buying items that are not on your “need” list
Just because an item is discounted doesn’t mean it’s something you need to own. Sales can be a great way to find quality products at lower prices, but they should not lead to impulsive purchases. When you believe in what you’re buying, it’s easy to feel like you’ve gotten a great deal. But when you don’t really need something, you’re not actually getting a good price at all.
3. Live by the one in one out rule
If you really do want to buy something new, commit to getting rid of something else first. This simple guideline will help ensure clutter doesn’t accumulate and that your home stays well organised.
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