Mental Check In
woman surrounded by clutter

Clutter Control: Too Much Stuff is Making Your Depression Worse

Having too much stuff can make it difficult to get things done — but it can also drain and frustrate you.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, that clutter could be contributing to and exacerbating your symptoms.

Get the clutter under control, and your mental health may improve, too.

Clutter Plays a Significant Role in Your Depression

Whether we realize it or not, clutter plays a significant role in how we feel — about our surroundings, our lives, and ourselves. It probably affects your mood more than you care to admit.

Yet, we rarely talk about how clutter is playing a key role in depression and anxiety.

Really, depression and clutter go hand-in-hand. It’s a vicious cycle, where anxiety or depression can lead to a cluttered space, but a cluttered space then exacerbates depression and anxiety.

Have You Ever Wondered How Extra Stuff Makes Depression Worse?

All that clutter is visually bombarding. It’s excessive stimuli that is causing your senses to work overtime. This makes it really difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.

Clutter can be distracting, by drawing attention away from what we should be focusing on. It’s like a constant signal that there is work to be done.

It can add to our feelings of guilt and causes embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by.

When clutter builds up, it can invade the open spaces that most people need to think, brainstorm, and problem-solve. It inhibits creativity and productivity.

The extra mess leads to plenty of frustration, as it makes it difficult to easily locate the things we need.

It becomes overwhelming, because we never know what it’s going to take to get to the bottom of the pile. Meanwhile, it just keeps piling up.

Tips for Conquering the Clutter

Tackling the mess is an important way to help your mental health. But where do you start?

  • Enlist the help of the whole family. Divide and conquer by designating areas for each person to work on. Or, if you’re on your own, work with just one area at a time to help divide it up. Trying to do too much at one time can be as overwhelming as the mess itself.
  • Make it fun by turning on some upbeat music. It will help make it a little more enjoyable, plus you’ll probably work faster, too.
  • If you don’t use it, don’t want or need it, you need to get rid of it. If you find it hard to let go of things that are still useful, give them away to someone who does need them. Otherwise, toss it, recycle it, or donate it.
  • Create designated spots for frequently used items, and make sure to always put things back where they belong. This will help you easily find what you’re looking for when you need it. However, make sure these are “closed” spaces, like a drawer or container. If you store things out in the open, it won’t remove the visual stimuli that are overwhelming your brain.
  • When you take something out of its designated space to use it, put it back immediately after you’re finished. This will take practice and commitment, but it’s worth it.

Kat Sweet

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