Reframing Your Relationship with Stuff – Decluttering and Organization for Mental Health

It is a common understanding that the more organized your space is the more inspired and grounded you feel. While this may be true, we have also been living in a time of intense stress due to an ever-evolving pandemic and societal stressors. Life’s events can cause us to be distracted and uninspired. Making it hard to know where to start when it comes to decluttering your space.

In the most recent episode of our ‘Reframing the Reset’ series I speak a lot from my personal experiences. I share several examples of how decluttering my space and creating reset rituals have made an expansive impact on my well-being and ability to show up for myself. Now, I am not claiming to be the most organized person in the world, but I noticed that when my space is more orderly my mental and emotional state just feels better. We also get into specific systems you can implement to remove clutter from your life.

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I also talk about…

  • The impacts of having clutter in your life.
  • Discerning between a soul want + an influenced want.
  • Three decluttering systems to try.


The Impact of Having Clutter in Your Life

As I was developing this episode I did some research around the subject of clutter. Through my reading I discovered that having clutter can increase cortisol levels and can impact satisfaction in life. This is because our brains have a hard time finding ease and taking in our senses. I also read that clutter encourages procrastination because we’re overwhelmed by what’s in front of us. It makes sense that when we are overrun by clutter our brains don’t have the space to think about much else.

It was enlightening reading the varying impacts that a cluttered life has on our emotional and mental wellbeing. I wanted to evaluate my own results around being organized and cleared of clutter vs having clutter in my space. What I discovered is when my room is clean and organized it is much easier for me to get out of bed on time and not hit that snooze button so often. I tracked how I felt through these different updates and changes via journaling. These findings inspired me to share what has worked for me when it comes to decluttering my space both physically and digitally.

The amount of work it takes to tending to your space can feel overwhelming. Especially if you are going through a tough emotional season. So while this episode is dedicated to making room and creating systems of efficiency. It is totally understandable if you are not currently in a state of mind where these tasks feel doable. With that all being said, if you are just doing your best to stay afloat right now that is ok.

Discerning Between a Soul Want and an Influenced Want

Reframing our relationship with things requires discernment between a soul want and an influenced want. Between paid ads and our favorite influencer on social media, it can be a challenge differentiating whether that desire for the new ‘thing’ you saw will bring actual value to your life or contribute to the mess.

We have all been in the situation where we bought something because we saw someone else with it. Then, upon receiving the item realized we don’t have the space or time to use that item. If you’re unsure, define the use and purpose that it would bring you. If you know you certainly need or want it and are wondering the best option to buy definitely refer to a trusted source.

Decluttering Systems to Try

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly resets: For the daily resets I tend to do these actions at night. I start by making sure my counters are cleared, my belongings are in their designated spaces and that my work station is set up for success for the next day. My weekly reset is usually on Wednesday and this involves a more thorough version of my daily resets, and my monthly resets usually involve changing out seasonal decor, or finally dropping off that donation pile of clothes.
  • Establishing a ‘One in, One Out’ rule when acquiring new things. Example: if I bought new shoes, and old pair has gotta go. Having this rule in place ensures that any new item I am bringing in has somewhere to go. If you aren’t wanting to get rid of something with every new addition you can also keep yourself in check by making sure there is a designated space for the item. Making sure every item has a home in your space can help keep it decluttered.
  • Focusing on Digital Decluttering: Start this process by deleting excess photos on your camera roll. You can create folders for the photos on your camera roll so they are easily found. Some additional ways to eliminate digital clutter are to back up unused documents, and delete old apps. For my inbox I have an auto-archive filter for messages that are older, I also use the labeling and folder feature generously.
  • Evaluate your relationship with stuff: Although it can feel obvious, a great way to keep your environment free of clutter is to evaluate your relationship with material things. What’s the drive behind you wanting that new item? Asking ourselves questions when acquiring new things can help us maintain awareness around our habits.

Creating long term changes when we are decluttering requires us to be mindful of our harmful habits. We can go through the process of cleaning out our closet and reorganizing our lives, but if we don’t address what’s driving the clutter it is probable that we will not be able to enforce long term changes. I encourage you to start tackling the clutter in your life one step at a time. You aren’t any less of a person if you have clutter in your life, but you deserve to feel spaciousness and ease. Establishing systems for decluttering will create more opportunities for joy and ultimately rest.

Mindful Takeaways

  • Clutter can be around any space – digital, physical, emotional, etc.
  • Reframing our relationship with things requires discernment between a soul want and an influenced want
  • Creating systems around maintaining an organized and clutter-free space can help with long-term success.



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