This Is How Stressed Your Mess Is Really Making You …

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Decluttered and minimalist living is all the rage these days. It’s a billion dollar industry, with books, blogs, businesses and even TV shows, all based around having less stuff.

And with good reason – the touted benefits are many and there is even scientific research linking the state of our homes to the state of our minds.

A UCLA study called Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century discovered that mess and stress are closely linked. It turns out the more clutter we have, the more likely we will be depressed.

This makes complete sense, of course.

Living in a consumerist society, where possessions equal status, having a house full of nice things is many people’s desire, and I am no different. Compounding this is my upbringing of “waste not, want not” which means I have a very hard time letting things go.

Exhibit A: Currently, sitting on my desk in front of me I have:

  • assorted stacks of scrap paper (kids might use them for drawing)
  • ribbon from a present (I could reuse that)
  • a broken bracelet (I’ll get it fixed one day)
  • a box of business cards with my old name on them (which I will never use but it seems such a waste to throw them away)

I could go on, and that’s just the 30cm square space in front of me!

Let me be clear, I am not a hoarder.

At least I’m fairly sure I’m not.

Apart from my office, the majority of my mess is tucked away, stowed in storage solutions I kid myself have fixed the problem. However, when things are busy it all starts to overflow. The clutter creeps onto benches, piles up in corners and taunts me.

I completely understand where the links are between clutter are depression. All that stuff can really weigh you down. For me, it is a constant reminder of the things you were going to do but didn’t get around to. Or links to the past, with bucket loads of guilt to go with it.

Recently, I talked about decluttering my kids toys. They have so much stuff too!

However, it’s not just their things I need to cull. I thought I had been brave when I moved earlier in the year and offloaded a lot of things. Somehow though there is still far too much.

My biggest problem is getting started. It is all so overwhelming, I just don’t feel like I can tackle it all. It requires a fair amount of emotional fortitude to undertake such a cleansing.

Where do I start?

What do I do with it all?

What should I keep, sell or throw?

How do I let go of the things I have emotional attachment too? (valid or otherwise)

All of these things stand between me and a clutter-free home. And a less stressful life.

Which is why I really like this idea of a ‘21 item toss’. Essentially, everyday for a week you find 21 things to donate or throw out.

By setting small achievable goals, it will be less daunting. Picking 21 random things to get rid of will be easy, I could do that sitting at my desk right now!

Once the surface clutter is gone, perhaps then I can tackle some of the tougher decisions, bolstered by the progress I’ve already made.

I know I will feel better when my space is clear and clean. I will feel lighter, calmer and who doesn’t want a home that makes them feel like that?

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About Author

Renee Meier

Renée is a freelance writer, perpetual student and aspiring novelist. In her spare time she's the sole parent to 3 rambunctious little people. She survives predominantly on coffee and squishy hugs.

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