Humor aside, as I sit in my cozy living room, protected from what many hope is winter’s final blast, today’s blog post about spring cleaning does not seem particularly fitting. Yet a burst of spring cleaning might bring with it the promise of warmer, sunnier days. Yes, organization and cleanliness are important for your mental health:
- Clutter and filth can be distracting and overwhelming. Lack of organization and cleanliness is a top stressor for most Americans. Women show increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol when their homes are cluttered.
- Clutter begets clutter. Research says so.
- Mental health experts suggest that your health—weight in particular—can benefit from grappling with your little dust devils and messes.
All well and good, but many of us know there are certain barriers to getting rid of the junk. To help you get started, see Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Joy of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” While I’m fairly organized myself, I enjoyed this quirky read and gleaned some worthy takeaways:
- Tackle categories, not rooms. Put all your books, or clothes, or tools, etc. together, then sort them.
- Does it spark joy? If not, thank it for its service, throw it away, and move on. This really helped me pare down, especially as I packed up to move to a new home recently.
- Respect your belongings. They’ll look nicer and perform better for you. Sometimes respecting things means letting them go!
- Nostalgia is not your friend, and neither is guilt. Remember, does it (still) spark joy? If it’s hard to get rid of gifts, the author states that the purpose of a gift is for the gift-giver to convey his or her feelings to the receiver, and once that purpose is fulfilled, you are free to do with the gift as you choose.
- Purging feels so good! Give it to someone else or to a thrift store to keep the joy flowing. Or maybe you just need to throw it away.
- Everything that remains should be visible, accessible, and put back in place when you’re finished with it.
- The unique Konmari method of storing your items will guide you on your journey. I have found that storing clothing in this way really works to keep everything in sight and within reach.
- Surround yourself only by the things you love. Be inspired by your possessions instead of letting them bring you stress.
Please read the book for yourself. You can purchase it here.
For more help if you or someone you know has hoarding problems or lack of motivation, contact us. Therapists Tara Taylor, MA, LPC-IT or Wendy Yurk, MS, LPC at Yurk Counseling Services can help you move forward.