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A New Spring… Managing Mental Health Through Decluttering

While it is technically still winter, I find myself craving spring cleaning, a fresh start and a new outlook. I have been busy purging cabinets and shelves. Our mantel is cleared off for the first time since the pandemic began (Christmas decorations, people!) and I am finding myself inspired to clear the decks, get rid of clutter and embrace the things I love.

Not gonna lie, the past 7 years I feel as though I have been running on autopilot. In early 2015 my Mom was diagnosed with cancer after an exploratory surgery. Her illness progressed, and quickly. Four short months later, she was gone. My heart literally shattered into a million bits that I have been trying to pick up ever since. During the following months, I had to deal with the business if her death. What to do with her business, her home, her stuff. My grief was pushed aside and that seriously was not healthy.

In early 2020, our world changed in a huge way. We remained locked down for months, doing school and work from home. I thought I would be able to make use of that down time to purge the things I had dragged from home to home. Sad memories being carried in an assortment of pots, pans, figurines, linens and other ephemera that I just couldn’t let go of. I thought if I let go of those things, I’d be losing HER.

Goodbye Stuff

I’m not sure what finally clicked or flipped the switch the last handful of months. I am practically manic about wanting to get rid of nearly everything. Ok, not everything everything. But how many dishes does one family of three REALLY need? Bye dishes, bye 60 wine glasses, bye giant stack of chargers, bye 18 salad bowls that haven’t seen the light of day since we moved. Bye sake set, bye blanket that matched NOTHING I own. GOOD BYE!

Purging feels good. I hope that by getting rid of this STUFF, I can lighten myself and my mental state. It’s tiring. I am ready for light and bright, both in my home and in ME. I am ready to find my muse, to crawl out of the dark cave that I have been hiding in, under that ugly blanket clutching an outdated vase and find me again.

Managing Mental Health through Decluttering

The thing is as I sat down to write this, it just poured out of me. Doing a little research I discovered that there have been studies that show that women that described their homes with positive language often displayed a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol than those who described their homes as cluttered or unfinished.

Another study shows that orderly environments help their occupants make more healthy decisions. On the contrary side, less orderly environments sometimes promote creativity and new ideas. (maybe that’s why my studio is never tidy!) For the most part, people do find that decluttering and tidying promote better mental health and productivity. Additional benefit include:

  • Better focus
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Improved lifestyle and well-being
  • Better relationships

I’m sold. These things are things I have been willing myself to strive for lately. I let myself get to a low place and realize that I need to take action and make changes. I am allowing myself time to tackle decluttering but every time I fill a box or bag to donate I feel like more weight is being lifted from my shoulders.

Heather

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