Clutter is someone with anxiety’s worst nightmare.
A giant mess, an untidy house, a bedroom full of unwashed clothes on the floor…
Whatever the clutter is, it makes your anxiety much, much worse. Anxiety and clutter go hand in hand like water in oil. They don’t mix at all. And along the way it causes mental anguish that can make your mental health a lot more worse than you expected.
There’s a powerful connection between anxiety and clutter, and it’s not good on the anxiety end.
The Powerful Connection Between Anxiety and Clutter
There is a powerful connection between anxiety and clutter. Usually it’s a cycle of clutter causes anxiety and the anxiety causes clutter. And when you have more anxiety of your life, it can really make things a lot worse than it already is. It can make you irritable, agitated, etc.
Clutter causes anxiety and it’s really an interesting experience if you’ve never had anxiety.
Clutter Causes Anxiety
There are many reasons why clutter causes anxiety, but here are 8 reasons from Psychology Today
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
- Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter). [x]
These are all valid reasons!
For me, the biggest part of clutter anxiety is the inhibition of creativity. I can’t really focus enough to write when my room is a mess and unorganized. It makes writing just that much harder and really isn’t good for someone running a blog.
It’s a cycle though. Clutter causes anxiety but depression causes the clutter.
So it’s a never ending cycle for me where I go through bouts of depression that makes it so I don’t want to clean up, which causes the anxiety to act up when I realize how bad the depression has made the room look.
Combating Anxiety and Clutter
Being Productive Feels Good
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed after I do a cleaning spree to rid myself of the clutter and anxiety, is that I am much more productive, and being productive feels good.
If you haven’t noticed, I took a few months off from blog posting because my depression and overall mental health wasn’t in the best place to be writing. In fact, I couldn’t write a blog post if I wanted to. I couldn’t think of a single thing to write about in those few months.
I just recently cleaned my room and decluttered a lot of stuff I didn’t need, so my room is feeling a bit more tidier. And with that, I feel 10x more productive.
I’ve been thinking of blog posts when I’m at work, and writing them down in a notebook so I can write them out later, literally like I’m doing right now.
Being productive is such a great feeling. It’s empowering, almost. It makes me feel like I can tackle anything in the world. (Okay, maybe not anything…) But it’s still pretty damn powerful!
Related: Beginner’s Guide to Decluttering
Minimalism is Good for Anxiety
If you don’t want to get on the minimalism train, that’s fine, but if you have anxiety you really should consider it.
Minimalism is so great for anxiety because you won’t have the “stuff” to create clutter!
I love minimalism and working my own version of minimalism in my life because it makes sure I don’t have unnecessary things in my life. Sometimes we go on spending sprees or buy things we don’t need. Sometimes that stuff just sits in our house and we never do anything with it.
Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
So, figuring out your way to make sure you don’t have all that much stuff can really cut down on the clutter in your life. It helps you be more organized and put together in life. But, you don’t have to be minimalist to be those things. It’s all up to you..
Donating Feels Good
When you declutter all that clutter to help rid yourself of anxiety, it feels good to donate the items you don’t want to good causes. There are many places to donate your stuff, but sometimes they’re not always the best place. Sometimes they do more harm than good and end up throwing out you stuff instead. I need to be better at vetting where I donate my things, but right now I bring them to a local Goodwill because the local Savers went out of business.
But when you donate things you feel good. The things you don’t want are going to a new home where they will be loved like you loved them. Second hand things are a great way to get great stuff for a cheaper price if you don’t mind things being hand me downs.
There are selling apps out there like Mercari, and consignment shops that you can find that you can even sell your stuff to for some extra cash, or you can go ahead an donate them to your local second hand shop. Just do a little research if you care about their carbon footprint and ethics.
Want to get your anxiety under control? Try doing some decluttering!
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