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3 Simple Decluttering Ideas to Help Relieve Depression

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Does a cluttered living space mean we are living with a cluttered mind? There are studies that suggest living in a disorganized space, and especially hoarding, can lead to or make the symptoms of depression worse.

Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to organize our living space and these three suggestions just may be what you need to declutter your space and bring calmness and light into your mind.

1. Make your bed.

Admiral William McRaven gave a commencement speech in 2014 about his experience as a Navy SEAL and the physical/mental challenges during training. The first suggestion he gave graduates was to make their bed each and every day, first thing in the morning.

If you start every morning by making your bed, this will give you a sense of pride and encourage you to continue your day, accomplishing more and more. With depression, our bed can be extremely inviting throughout the day, especially if you live in a smaller apartment or condo. By making your bed, you are finalizing that part of the day and acknowledging it is time to move on. This is the first step to organizing your mind and decluttering your living space.

2. Countertops and tables.

I had a coffee maker, toaster, blender, slow cooker and microwave on my kitchen countertop in my “clutter phase” of life. What I noticed is I only make coffee on weekends and rarely use my blender and slow cooker. I decided to store these items in convenient places out of sight until I needed them.

Just the sight of an open countertop makes my condo feel larger and it is just a more efficient use of space now. I encourage you to find things on your countertop you may not be using every day or every week, and find a storage place to open up that countertop!

If you have tables in your hallway or shelves full of knickknacks and pictures, take a look and see if you could move a few things into storage or sell/give them away. Ask yourself, “Do I want it? Do I need it? Do I use it?” If the answer is no to any of these, get rid of it! I realize we attach ourselves to things, which is normal, especially if items hold memories and sentimental value. Perhaps if you have a lot of photos on display, choose some of your favorites to leave and add the others to a photo album to display instead. The bright side is a cleaner look and a surface much easier to clean and dust.

3. Visual stimuli.

Decluttering your living space is all about reducing visual stimuli and bringing more simplicity into your days. In episodes of depression, you may find your mind is actually more active and you think quite a bit more in comparison to when you feel good. You may overanalyze your mood and be very aware of negative self-talk.

By getting rid of visual stimuli, this is just one extra thing we do not have to worry about and concern ourselves with. If you are feeling up to it, decluttering your space while feeling low may give you that sense of encouragement and accomplishment you need, just like making your bed. If you are feeling great, decluttering and making your space visually simplistic may keep you from feeling overwhelmed, and if a depressive episode comes, you and your space will be ready.

What I did was purchase small, aesthetically pleasing storage bins for my shelf and television unit to put “clutter” in to achieve that clean, minimalistic feeling. I put my television remotes, game controllers, magazines and cables in them. I’m inviting you to examine your living space and see if you could make use of these bins for any items that seem to be laying around on a daily basis.

It’s a very simple concept, but it can make a large difference in our depressive moods and how we see the space we live in. You may not need to take action in decluttering now, but take notice of your space in what you use and look at every day. Take note of things you don’t need or items you have wanted to sell or give away, but never made the time. This is the first step to a decluttered mind, but don’t forget to make your bed!

Getty image by photoschmidt

Originally published: February 20, 2020
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