Clutter. Stuff. Crap. It feels like every room in our house at the moment is cluttered. It’s not messy or dirty! We just have a lot of stuff. No matter what you are trying to get to in our house, you will probably need to move at least three things out of the way to get to it.
I can’t even really tell you what the stuff is because it is just stuff. Everywhere I look, I see toys that Little J has discarded, clothes that need putting away, paperwork that needs filing, notebooks, candles, books and stuff. Honestly, it’s driving me bonkers.
For the longest time, I have tried to convince myself that I do not need a decluttered house to be content. That it does not have an impact on my mental health. That I do not need to have a decluttered home to feel like I have my life together.
BUT it is affecting my mental health. I’m sick of moving this out way, then that out of the way to get one thing. I’m fed up with not being able to find what I’m looking for without checking here, there and everywhere. And I’m fed up with seeing stuff all over the house.
So I want to find out if decluttering will improve my mental health.
Mistakes I Have Made When Decluttering Before
I have tried decluttering lots of times before, but I never seem to succeed at it. To be honest, it all gets quite overwhelming. Rather than focusing on one area or section, I would want to tackle a whole room. I would empty everything out onto the bed and then attempt to sort, tidy and throw away.
Halfway through, I would lose motivation and want to give up. Everything would then just be dumped back into the draws and wardrobe, and I’d be in a worse situation than before.
The other problem I would have when decluttering is the fear of ‘What If’. What if I throw it away and I need it one day? I’ve not used it in 3 years, but what if? Yes, I don’t wear that cardigan anymore because ‘it shrunk in the wash’, but what if we’re going somewhere and it would go perfectly with my outfit? I haven’t had time to read an actual book for years, but I still have 50 odd under my bed. What if I throw all my books out, and I really want to read them later down the line? Yes, I’ve not worn that pair of shoes in the longest time, but what if I need a smart pair of shoes for something? I can’t afford to purchase another pair.
Is The KonMari Method Realistic?
I read an interesting article on Scary Mommy the other day, stating how Decluttering Is A Luxury That Some People Don’t Have. Specifically, it talked about Marie Kondo and how it is unrealistic for some people to only keep things that spark joy.*
*Just an FYI for anyone that hasn’t heard of Marie Kondo, she’s a Japanese organising consultant, and her goal is; ‘to help more people live a life that sparks joy’. She does this by helping people to declutter their houses and only keep the things that spark joy. If the object/clothes/shoes no longer bring joy, then throw it out!
The author of the article discussed how some people who live close to the bread line are unable to throw out even a pair of socks that no longer spark joy as they would not be able to replace them.
Whilst I do not fall into that bracket, thankfully, I realised that this is partly why I struggle to throw things out. The ‘What If’ fear I discussed above. I have shoes, clothes, bags, and stuff that no longer sparks joy, but I still need them because I wouldn’t be able to afford to replace all of it.
However, there does come the point where you have to have a discussion with yourself about the amount of stuff you have and if you really need it. I, for example, do not need 57 pairs of pyjamas.
There is one part of the KonMari method that I will be able to apply to my own journey. Marie Kondo says that when you are ready to part with something, you thank it for its service and then let it go. And I actually really like that.
A Few Benefits Of Decluttering
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Clutter stresses you out. Some people believe that clutter can be seen as having a lack of control. As the clutter grows, so does your stress levels as you know it’s all there and needs sorting.
Once everything has been decluttered, it no longer takes up any of your headspace, and you’ll be able to sit down and relax in the evening without thinking about it!
Rediscover Things You’ve Lost/Forgotten About
Last year, before COVID took over our lives, a friend and I sorted out the cupboard under the stairs. I really wish I had a before picture because, honestly, it was a tip! Anyway, whilst sorting out, we came across £50 worth of gift cards that I had completely forgotten about.
If that’s not an incentive to do a sort out, I don’t know what is!
Easier to Clean and Tidy
As there is less to move out of the way, it is easier to clean and tidy and keep it that way. As a result, there are fewer places for dust and allergens to hide. Win-win!
You’ll Have More Time
Okay, so this one might be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out! As you know where everything is, you won’t be wasting time looking for whatever it is you need. Also, you’ll spend less time cleaning and tidying everything as you’ll have less stuff, so you’ll save time there too.
I cannot wait to get started on this! It’s not going to be a quick process, but I’m alright with that. I’m actually giving us a whole year to get everything done as the attic and shed are included. Also, life gets in the way sometimes! Plus, we are restricted to only one tip run per week at our local centre. However, I hope that a lot of our decluttered stuff can either be donated or sold! On that note, does anybody want a bunch of books?
I’ll do a full update once we have completed the decluttering (with before and after pics!) and report back on whether decluttering does affect your mental health. Wish us luck. We’re going to need it!