De-cluttering your home and mind

Kathy Carter


Many of us carry excessive emotional baggage that weighs us down, and with more time on our hands at the moment, home improvements are good jobs to tackle. This is the perfect time to de-clutter both our homes and our minds and clear your headspace.

Tidy up

One of the first steps to achieving a lighter emotional life is to try to live in calm and minimalist (or just tidy) surroundings. A messy home can create increased stress levels for many individuals. If your mind has been stimulated all day, whether through work, home education with the kids or other commitments, your ‘down time’ should ideally take place in a restful space.

Remember that increased stress levels have a crafty way of adding ‘weight’ to our energy and demeanour; we may talk in a more monotone voice, stoop a little and generally ‘carry the weight of the world on our shoulders’.

Treat your home as a beloved friend who needs care and attention; you will enjoy the more respectful connection that a tidier home brings.

Start de-cluttering your physical objects.

Take your decluttering one step at a time – that ‘messy drawer’; the space beside the wardrobe that collects odd items; and even, shock horror, the ATTIC. Make a pile of items that you love and can’t bear to part with, that enrich your life; and a pile of items that can be repurposed and moved on.

Guess what? That ‘repurposed pile’ may even include items that harbour difficult memories, or links to past periods of your life that it is time to move on from. Be brave, as it can be good to remove and repurpose belongings that tether us to the past.

Recycle and repurpose

Give everything you’re getting rid of a theoretical new home. Most things can be repurposed, from local clothes swap groups and charity / thrift shops, to online auction sites. You’re not only creating more space for yourself, but also helping others, at a time when many people will be feeling the financial pinch.

Giving is widely acknowledged to be a factor in one’s personal happiness – the happiest nations in the world are also the most generous with their time and money. So the altruistic action of donating to charitable causes should certainly lift the spirits – again, a nod to the metaphorical ‘weighty burdens’ we carry.

Create new storage spaces and make your home work for you

Storage is widely thought to be the key to a low-stress home environment. Not only does it create a tidier, more visually appealing look in the home (or home-office), but it can also cut down on cleaning and tidying time, if everything in the home has a place.

There’s plenty of time now to browse design solutions, storage trunks and all manner of furniture solutions at the moment. Make your home work for you, notably if the practicalities of your future home and work life will look a little different, post COVID-19.

Use the opportunity to recalibrate your mind

The physical de-cluttering should have helped you gain an element of emotional lightness, especially if you have really been mindful of the process, allowing yourself to let go of certain belongings, and closing the door on some of the memories they hold. If you have showcased your holiday photos in the home, you will gain pleasure from the reminders of loving connections; while the act of sorting photographs (perhaps digitising them, or storing them somewhere else safely) also provides a release and sense of calm.

Some individuals may also have processed some difficult issues they had with hoarding, and may have bravely ‘let go’ of items that do not serve them, even if they belonged to beloved relatives. Essentially, clutter can reduce our ability to focus, and can make us feel more anxious – so if we can embrace this ‘lighter’ feeling by de-cluttering our home, it’s a natural progression for our emotional health to follow.

When you have finished your home transformation, seize the opportunity to maintain that new, mindful emotional state - make a list of mental health resolutions that will help you navigate any challenging periods ahead. And finally, be kind to yourself and others with the words you use - the heaviest words can weigh us down, and the lightest words can lift us up.

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