Decluttering can be a frankly overwhelming task and is something that gives most people anxiety on the best of days. In this article we look at how to make decluttering your home manageable to help reduce your anxiety and have a positive impact on your mental health.
It’s no surprise that our home environment can massively impact our mental health, which in turn can affect how we sleep, eat and live our lives. If you’ve read our article 5 Reasons You May Feel Sad At Home, then you will have seen a few of the things that can be a factor for your mental health at home. Clutter is one of the reasons we briefly visited.
Having lots of visible clutter can cause your mind to feel less able to relax and be present. The distraction of unnecessary items everywhere, particularly if you feel this needs improving, can weigh heavy on our minds. Of course, the task of decluttering is daunting, but we’re here to help.
Where to Start?
Possibly the hardest part about tackling any large job, is where to start. Finding where to start something like this can take longer than the actual job itself.
Make a Plan
A plan is by far the best way to work out what you need to do, when you need to do it, why you’re doing it and helps to keep you motivated, whilst being manageable.
Write down what it is you need to get done, in this case we are talking about decluttering, but this can apply for any overwhelming task ahead of you. Are you decluttering a shelf, room, the whole home? Be specific about the aim of the job, for example ‘I want to declutter the front room, get rid of things, make the room feel more open and organised.’
Break it Down
Next you need to take your aim and break it down into small manageable chunks that you can cope with. If you are decluttering the front room, divide the job into portions – declutter the shelving unit, declutter the cupboard, sort the kids toys and so on.
A task can be divided into as many smaller ones as you’d like. When tackling a room, don’t try to do it all in one day, break it down into seven jobs and tackle one each day. Already the overall job is less daunting, each smaller job will take significantly less time individually and mean less stress and energy is used.
Stick to your Plan, but be Flexible.
Do your best to stick to your plan, this means your larger aim will get done, but remember to be kind to yourself. If you break everything down into seven jobs, one for each day of the week and find yourself struggling one day to complete a mini task, then take a break. Go out and get some fresh air, take a nice walk, relax and read a book.
A plan is just that, a plan. By sticking to it, you complete the jobs and eventually achieve the outcome you desire, but it does not need to be rigid. Find flexibility in it by understanding that motivation ebbs for everything at times. You may have a seven day plan, but there is nothing to say that seven day plan needs to be done consecutively. You can execute it by completing days one and two and having a break the next day, returning to day three afterwards.
It is all about making decluttering manageable and less daunting and the most important ingredient when achieving that is you! There is no point embarking on any task, if you are going to damage your mental health. Take your time, know your limits and remember your commitments. If something comes up or goes wrong, it’s okay, you’ll still get there.
Just like with our children, sometimes an incentive helps to keep your motivation levels high. It might be a nice meal, a dress you’ve had your eye on, an ice cream or even treating yourself to a new book. Recognise your hard work and acknowledge your achievement, be proud of getting something done you’ve been putting off!
A Helping Hand
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We have created a little worksheet that you can use to help you plan your decluttering. Our Task Management page is from our Wonder Planner, which will be available soon, but for now we wanted to make this available to you in the hope it helps you feel slightly less anxious about starting your decluttering journey. You can use it for any other big jobs you come across too. It will be available in this article, but also in our Free Resource section, let us know if it helps!