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Decluttering could be good for your mental health

Nurturing

CLEAR OUTGetting rid of unnecessary items and creating a tidy space can bring multiple benefits.

Mental Health

Jannah Walshe

Spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning this year with the Marie Kondo effect taking hold in many a household. For those that have somehow managed to avoid this craze, Marie Kondo is a Japanese woman who has a book and a Netflix series promoting the benefits of decluttering.
Kondo highlights the need to focus on joy when choosing whether a household item should stay or go. It’s this simple: Hold the object in your hand. If it brings you joy (or ‘sparks joy’), keep it; if it doesn’t, get rid of it, remembering to thank it for what it has brought to your life.
This method of organising has become so well-known that every other person seems to be talking about it, and charity shops are reporting an huge increase in donations. But why is this? What is it about decluttering that is getting so many interested?
One possibility is its connection to mental health. Here’s why.

Focus
People report that a lack of clutter helps them to stay focused on what is important. Our lives are already full of distractions, phone notifications beeping, emails coming in faster than they can be answered, and a full diary of places to be and things to do. Add to that a heap of clutter all around us, and our poor brains don’t know where to look or what to tackle first! In turn, this doesn’t help our cognitive functioning when it comes to such things as planning, memory and concentration.

Energy
People tend to find that their energy levels increase when clutter is sorted out. Having our home in order makes us feel organised, and in turn, feeling organised can help us to feel energised. Being energised helps us to keep on top of the clutter, and that feel-good cycle continues.

Anxiety
Getting on top of clutter can ease some anxiety. If clutter is overwhelming you and you feel like you will never get on top of it, this can lead to feelings of anxiety. The reverse is also true: Making a start on the decluttering process can help anxiety levels to decrease.

Find your own way
It is important to remember that decluttering is not for everyone. It is not a one-size-fits-all method. Some people thrive and feel more creative when everything isn’t organised around them. Others love the comfort of a little mess. For some, trying to keep on top of the clutter makes them feel more anxious. Others say they love the feeling of something being there in case they need it someday, even if they are not using it right now.  
So make sure you decide for yourself, not because it is the latest trend.

Easy does it
Any health risk attached to decluttering? Yes. Anything can become too much, even a good thing. If it becomes overwhelming or another thing to add to the already long to do list, take a break. It’s not going to be beneficial to your mental health if it is causing you high levels of stress. Decluttering can be good, but not if it takes over your life.

Jannah Walshe is a fully accredited psychotherapist, course facilitator and mental-health speaker based in Co Mayo. More information about Jannah can be found at
www.jannahwalshe.ie.