Have you ever wondered, what is the relationship between clutter and depression? Somebody once said, “I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich. And rich is better.” I could say, “I’ve lived in clutter and depression and I’ve lived neat.” Neat is vastly better…for your time, your health, and your peace of mind. If you want to beat depression, the clutter has got to go, and here’s why.
Several studies support the idea of a strong link between clutter and depression, specially in women. In a 2012 UCLA study investigating the connection between clutter and depression, published in the book Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century, researchers found that women surrounded by too many physical objects in their homes had higher levels of cortisol, often called the stress hormone. Men, on the other hand, are not bothered much at all, no surprise to a lot of married women.
Women have a direct physical reaction to excess stuff around them, plus they tend to take the blame for the state of their homes. If our husbands and children have no interest in a tidy house, stress levels at home can rise. And if our mother-in-law visits, you can guess who takes the fall.
It seems that the clutter and depression cycle is a hard one to break. Clutter makes you depressed, and being depressed makes it impossible to deal with the mess. Clutter can make you feel claustrophobic, and paralyzed by the enormity of it all. But it is possible to break free and here’s how…
3 Ways To Break The Cycle Of Clutter And Depression
Know that storage containers are not enough. Just storing the excess does nothing to release the weight of it from your mind. You have to actually get rid of things to feel the freedom of being uncluttered. You need physical space to move around in so you can breathe.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon, writing in Houselogic.com, suggests boxing up things you’re not really crazy about, and keeping them for up to a year. Then, if you didn’t need something in the box, give it to charity without looking inside.
Get help from a professional organizer. A lot of the junk that fills our houses either has some sentimental attachment, or we have told ourselves it has economic value that really isn’t there. Find a professional who can help you let go of plastic flowers that some lost love gave you in high school, or tell you what your stuff is really worth. Using a pro takes away the pain of arguing with friends or family about what you don’t want to part with.
Know you are not alone. It can help to watch a few of those TV shows of other ordinary people cleaning up a room or two. The sense of relief they feel, as well as seeing that they only got 50 cents for selling some gadget you own, may encourage you with your own de-cluttering goals.
It should give us a clue that the Life at Home book was published by Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Digging through our accumulated hoard can feel like an archaeological expedition. But our lives are not in our stuff. Our lives are today. We can break the cycle of clutter and depression when we first learn how to let the inner burden go. To do that, check out the free resource we created for you below.