If you find yourself constantly stressing out and tired, if it feels like you never have enough time for yourself and can’t think clearly, it might be time to tackle the clutter in your home. We’ve talked a lot about storage and moving – they’re natural topics for someone who has moved as often as I have, but I want to tackle a topic that is extremely important for anyone who has been through a move: mental health and claiming peace of mind.
Moving is a chaotic time, and it can be easy to put off unpacking. I mean after all that time loading and unloading moving trucks, moving boxes around, and getting the new home setup – it’s understandable if you’re not in a huge hurry to get everything put away and everything unpacked. However, there are major health reasons why maybe you should.
How Clutter Affects Physical Health
Clutter has been actually shown through various studies to have strong negative effects on the physical health of the people surrounded by it. Having clutter around your home will potentially hurt your physical health for a variety of reasons. How can this be?
- Without question, clutter = stress. This is especially bad for your health as stress has been shown to be absolutely horrendous to a person’s health.
- Clutter can exacerbate allergies because it gives a lot places for dust and dander to gather
- Increases risk of stubbing toes or minor injuries
- There’s even a direct link between exercising less and having more clutter in the home.
- Saps your energy
I understand that unpacking can be overwhelming – and I am in that group that instantly wants a beer the very moment I get all my boxes and possessions from Point A to Point B, but for the good of my health, I unpack as much as possible as quickly as possible…usually with an open beer on the dining room table.
How Clutter Affects Mental Health
You physical health isn’t the only thing affected by clutter. Your mental health is also heavily affected by clutter. When you’re living with unpacked boxes and general clutter, your mental capacities suffer, according to multiple university studies.
Mental health problems from clutter include
- Heavy increase in stress
- Heavy increase in anxiety
- Can make depression worse or kick-start depression in people susceptible to it
- Makes it far harder and more stressful to make decisions
How to Tackle Clutter if You Feel Overwhelmed
Knowing that clutter is terrible for your health and being able to actually do something about it are two very different things. One of the hardest parts of cleaning up clutter is the fact that clutter itself makes decision making hard, which makes it much easier to procrastinate, which makes it even harder to unpack and clean up the clutter.
The easiest solution I’ve found is practicing Kaizen, This is a Japanese concept of embracing extremely small, incremental steps that over time add up into major changes. The way you stick with this is by making goals so small, it’s ridiculous not to follow them. An example would be “Every time I walk into the kitchen I will put away exactly one dish.”
Another example would be deciding to take one item out of a box every single time you go into any room and put that one item away. This seems like absurdly little to do, but if you get up during every commercial you’ll find that over a day you actually get a lot of little stuff put away. As more boxes get unpacked and more clutter cleared day after day, you will find it easier to think and focus, and that only speeds up the un-cluttering process.
Eventually you will have a clean home free of clutter, and be able to enjoy all the positive mental and physical health results!