Anxiety! Sometimes anxiety creeps up on you and sometimes it is there and it never leaves. Today I would like to address anxiety of a specific sort. The anxiety that spawns from the general disorganization of life. Of course, nothing in life is 100% perfect. When you look around your room, home, or office desk and see a lot of clutter, this clutter may be contributing to mood and anxiety. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out?” When we are surrounded by clutter, garbage, or useless things, this tends to impact the way one feels. When clutter and mess are around it can get to the point where you don’t know where to start. Unfinished projects, knick knacks, old outdated items that you have no use for, and much more (you know what your items are).
It is important to clear clutter for many reasons, everyone is different so just a few will be brought to your attention.
Clutter may contribute to your anxiety because:
1. You feel guilty– You keep telling yourself, “I will get to it later” or “Not now”, those statements lead to guilt tripping yourself, “I should be organized” or “I should have had time to do XYZ today, but didn’t.” These statements become part of your belief system about yourself. You start believing that you aren’t living up to standards.
2. Clutter can cause a feeling of disorganization- Ok, some people say they don’t mind clutter, I would assume if that was you would have no interest in reading this post and probably wouldn’t have clicked this link. Clutter is disorganization! When surrounded by failed organizing systems, whether in your home or at work, you start to feel overwhelmed by clutter, feel anxious that you will never get rid of the items, and get frustrated by the accumulated piles of paper or stuff.
3. Its hard to relax- When you have piles of things that need to be done, how can you relax??? You might find some time here and there but every time you are reminded of the clutter, you might revert to #1 on this list, guilty. How can you relax when you feel guilty??? A clear space, means a clear mind, and a clear mind is a more healthy mind. You can focus your attention on matters that you know deserve your efforts, more than tending to the anxiety of the clutter in your home/office.
4. Sensory Overload- Sensory integration affects everything we do. Our bodies and mind tend to habituate to noises, smells, sensations, that our five senses pick up on. When their is a stimulus, our brain responds. This is part of our autonomic nervous system. When clutter is present your senses are still sensing. As a result, your mind and perception can be overloaded by the presence of clutter.
- Tackle a little bit at a time- give yourself 5-20 minutes of clean up each day. Tackle areas of your desk and/or home that feel the most cluttered
- Listen to music while organizing- get your brain interested in the task
- Ask for help- Get the help of a friend or family member. Be flexible and consider options.
- Make a list of weekly chores AND then do them every week (ex: File bills, Landry, Call on questions in to-do pile, clean shoes out of hall closet, purge old bills from file cabinet, ect.)
- Make a designated areas for to-do items
- Hide things out of plain site
- Set an alarm each week to remind yourself what to do
- Put things back where they go
Anymore to add to the list? Leave a comment!
So, whats the next step? Go ahead and make a list of de-cluttering projects you want to tackle. Remember, not to clutter your list. Create a list of 5 small tasks, after you tackle those, move onto the bigger tasks.
Allow yourself to take action to clear clutter from home and work so that you can focus on more important tasks with more meaning.