Decluttering Your Home and Decluttering Your Mind

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT
November 15, 2019

Clutter around the house can sometimes be a nausea-inducing sight. It does not only cause you to stress physically, a lot of times, clutter causes emotional and mental stress. Simply put, physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. Physical clutter signals the mind that there are things that needs to be done. The more you continue to live within the space of clutter, your mind/brain is working overtime – which is mentally exhausting. You’d find that in decluttering your physical space, you are also cleaning out and freeing spaces in your head. Clutter also makes one feel like they are out of control. Feeling like you are not in control of your life can also cause more mental stress. Decluttering your home provides a sense of control over your life, it also gives a sense of accomplishment and success.


Here are simple ways to Declutter your home, hence decluttering your mind.

1.  Set goals

Before you get started in decluttering your home, you have to make a plan. No matter how many rooms or how much clutter you have to get through, setting specific goals will help reduce any sense of frustration or feeling of incompetence. When your plan to declutter is specific and thorough, you are more likely to follow through with it.

  • Map out the rooms and the “clutter hot spots” that you want to tackle – from most to least. It is up to you to make it a BIG project or a little at a time.
  • Start with a room at a time, do not multi-task.
  • Set completion date or time for each phase of your cleanup. Try not to get frustrated if you are running behind on time. You can always readjust your schedule. Remember to be in control. This will make the tasks feel much more doable, therefore, you are less discouraged.

2. Come up with sorting system

When digging up through closets, garage, and or cupboards, you’d need to decide your “keep” or “put in storage”, “donate”, and “throw away” items. This “Three-box method” forces you to make decisions as you go through each item. For items you are unsure about, you can decide to create a fourth box labeled “not sure.” Remember, the goal is to stay in control so you don’t end up with a bigger mess than the one you started with.

In sorting through these items, mentally prepare yourself as you might come in contact with things you struggle to part with. Ask yourself these questions: “does it work?” “When was the last time I used it?” “Do I have something else that functions better (a replacement)?” “Do I actually love it?” You also have the option to sleep on it. If there’s something you can’t live without, you’ll know in the morning.

3. Seek professional help

If you are struggling with decluttering your home or you suspect that you may have a hoarding disorder, there might be underlying mental issues that needs to be addressed. Seeking advice of a Mental health professional will help address these issues.

When everything is organized and your home is decluttered of unused and unnecessary items, you have less to clean and less to organize. You will, therefore, be more energized to focus on things that you enjoy instead of worrying.

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT

Adebolanle Ade is a Mental Health Social Worker and Registered Behavioral Technician. She has many years of experience writing and advocating for mental health awareness.

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