Could decluttering your home improve your mental health?

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Our daily lives can be filled with many challenges, responsibilities, and stressful situations. And, every now and then, we might feel as if all of these stressors begin to weigh us down and impact on our mental health.

Perhaps we might start to feel certain emotional effects such as a persistent low mood, feelings of loneliness and isolation, or irritation, which in turn affects our relationships with others. Poor mental health can also show itself physically too such as increased blood pressure, insomnia, weight loss or a reduced immune system, as well as many other individual symptoms.

The important thing to know is that usually these feelings and symptoms are only temporary, and there are plenty of ways in which you can take back control, improve your mental health, and make for a more relaxed mind. As with most things in life, starting with small steps is often the best route. Making small adjustments to your lifestyle, routine and home can make a huge difference to your overall wellbeing, and it might just take one piece of success or change to spur you into making further improvements from there on.

In this article, we look at how reducing clutter in your home environment could be just one of these small steps you take to improving your mental health. We will share useful insights on how decluttering can help to improve mental health, as well as helpful advice on where and how to start. Plus, you could potentially make a bit of extra money out of it too!

The negative impacts of clutter

According to Verywellmind.com “To the brain, clutter represents unfinished business and this lack of completeness can be highly stressful for some people. This fact is especially true when people have significant concerns pressing in on their lives.”.

And, this makes total sense. If your mind is already cluttered with many thoughts and feelings, then coming home to a space full of mess and clutter could heighten these emotions even further. The mess could aggravate the confusion, tension or irritability you are suffering with, and make things seem even more out of control. 

Your home should be a place where you feel relaxed and at ease. If you have many possessions around you and very little clear space, then you are really going to struggle to find a place to relax and clear your mind without it mirroring the chaos and clutter around you.

Equally, if you work from home, then having a messy house could be even more stressful for you. The clutter could distract you away from the things you should be focussing on, making you less productive, less creative and less able to problem solve.

A cluttered home could also create feelings of guilt and embarrassment, for example, you might not feel like it’s a space where you want to invite friends or family over to. In which case this could stop you from nurturing important social connections or relationships with others. Over time, this lack of contact with others could result in you experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Taking control of your space

Tidying and decluttering your home is widely considered a form of stress relief, and research has proven that it has several positive benefits on mental health. It can help you to gain some control back in your environment and create space to think and live a calmer lifestyle. In fact minimalist living has increased in popularity over the past few decades, as people realise that fewer possession generally make us happier and more content.

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Making this decision to declutter, however, is not always an easy task. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness or stress at work, the idea of cleaning and decluttering might seem really daunting. You might be suffering from exhaustion after a new baby, or fatigue during the day due to insomnia at night, and if so, clearing out your home from top to bottom might feel like the last thing you want to do – and understandably so.

Remember, nonetheless, that having a clearer and cleaner environment will help improve your mood and make your life more peaceful, therefore, it’s most certainly worth pursuing. As we mentioned above, it’s the first small steps that count, so making a plan of how to tackle your declutter job will be key. Below we have listed an easy 5-step guide to getting started.

5 simple ways to declutter

Set yourself a regular declutter slot

It’s likely not going to be feasible to tackle your decluttering job all at once. Therefore, allocate yourself a regular slot each week to tackle a different area of your home. This could be 1 – 2 hours which you dedicate to sorting out the bookshelves, sifting through your old paperwork in the office or clearing the tops of the cabinets in your living room. After a few weeks, you will really start to notice the difference. Just remember to finish de-cluttering each area before moving on to another to give you that sense of satisfaction and closure on each separate space.

Be ruthless

If you don’t use something regularly or don’t get a lot of pleasure out of looking at it each day, then it’s time to get rid! As a general rule, if you haven’t used an item in over 3 months then it’s time to find it a new home somewhere else. Be as ruthless as you can to really notice a difference.

Get others to help

You don’t have to tackle the job alone. If you live with others, then get them to get involved too. You could allocate each house member a room to work on or tackle each room together to get through it quicker. If you live alone, then don’t be afraid to reach out to family members, friends of neighbours to give you a hand. There’s every good chance they will be glad to help, and you never know, they might get a few free hand-me-downs as a thank you!

Make use of your unwanted items

Selling your old things can be very satisfying as well as profitable too. So, once you’ve had a good clear out of unwanted items, be sure that they find their way to the right new home instead of to the skip. We accept jewellery, camera, old toys, pens, old currency, as well as silver & gold items – so if you find any of these things during your declutter, then all you have to do is send them off in one of our free postage boxes and wait for us to call with your cash offer. Other items can be donated to your local charity shop, such as The Samaritans who use our retail service for charities.

Earlier in the week we spoke with Jane Tweedy, Director of the Chesterfield Branch of the Samaritans who told us…

“By donating to a Samaritans shop you can help us to raise vital funds, so we can continue to deliver our services to support those in need. In our Chesterfield shop, we use the Vintage Cash Cow for Charities service, which helps us to generate income from even the lower quality items –  we’ve raised almost £600 to date, which is fantastic, and helps us to fund the 8,519 helpline calls and emails we manage each year (2020 figures).”

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Sort your storage out

Once you have sorted out the items that you no longer want, it’s important to organise your kept items neatly and out of sight. This will ensure your spaces remain clear and tidy, allowing you to feel as relaxed as possible at home. Clever storage can make all the difference, and there are many cheap options available, which are very effective. From under-stairs shelving to labelled stacking boxes and door-hanging storage units, you can get creative to ensure that everything has a home and is accessible without getting in the way.

We hope you have found this article helpful and now feel armed with plenty of decluttering advice. Before you start, remember to order your free postage pack from Vintage Cash Cow and grab an old box to keep aside the items you want to send to us.

Are you ready to declutter your home and give your mental health a boost?

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