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Clutter can add to stress and anxiety.

Clutter can add to stress and anxiety.

It can be hard to let go of things. Your favorite pair of jeans with big holes in the knees, those dusty books that have been on the shelf for years, or your old Beanie Baby collection from when you were a kid, for example. While we sometimes may want to hang on to sentimental items or family heirlooms, reducing and simplifying the amount of stuff we have has tremendous benefits for our emotional well-being.

I always feel better when my apartment and office space are clean. Part of that could be my parents’ influence, but there’s some science behind the act of keeping our homes and work spaces organized. Clutter can be overwhelming and exhausting even to think about. When we clear out the clutter, we no longer have to think about it, and can put our attention and thoughts to other more important matters.

Clear space, clear mind

Clear space, clear mind

Decluttering your home and work space has a calming effect. Decluttering has the ability to energize, release negative emotions, and create both physical and mental space. By organizing your space, you’re taking control of your environment and freeing your mind to think about other things. Tidying up your space not only looks nicer, it actually can lower stress. Just thinking about that overflowing basket of laundry, that sink full of dirty dishes, or those mile-high stacks of paper at the office can cause anxiety for many people.

Your physical environment is connected to your mental, emotional, and spiritual space, so it makes sense that a chaotic physical space can cause stress and anxiety. Clutter adds stress because we spend more time searching for things. However, when our physical spaces are clear, our minds can become clear, too. Your whole home or office need not be organized and immaculate. Even one room or corner will bring you a sense of peace.

Letting go of things we don’t need also makes space for new things and ideas to come into our lives. Decluttering is  about living simply and only using what we truly need. Do you really NEED three sets of dish towels or 12 pairs of shoes? Usually, if we have to think too hard about it, the answer is no. An extra, dusty bike in the basement? Clean it up and use or donate it! A clear space allows for a clear mind.


Written By:

Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator

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