Self-care and clutter.

The mental – physical connection in well-being is becoming overwhelmingly undeniable.  The more tired we physically are, the more mentally drained we feel.  The more stressed out we are, the more likely we are to indulge in unhelpful coping behaviors.  If you have a physical illness, it is likely to affect your mind.  If you have a mental illness, it can have some ravaging effects in your body.  Same little connections seem to exist between self-care and clutter (except inversely).  The more you practice self-care, the less clutter you’re likely to have.  The more clutter you have, the less likely you are to practice self-care.

I started writing this post and started reflecting on how much I have been preaching about getting rid of clutter, and not actually doing it for myself.  Preaching without practicing.  Theory without experiment.  And the thing is, I get it.  I totally get it.  It can be stressful in and of itself to declutter.  I know sometimes the word declutter conjures images of sitting in an empty room with nothing to do (this for some reason scares me).

But this is what I did:

  1. I started with little increments of 15 – 20 minutes of decluttering.
  2. Even if I wasn’t decluttering, if I came across something that I didn’t use or like, I would put it in the “check” pile.
  3. The “check” pile was to check if it was trash or donate, to be done in one of those 15 – 20 minute increments.
  4. For the last haul, the part that no matter how many increments of 15 or 20 or 45 minutes I dedicated to, I enlisted the help of a friend, to help keep me on track.  My friend was in charge of putting away stuff that I know for sure I want/need, and I was in charge of throwing out the stuff I don’t want.

In the end, I have a much more manageable room, even though I still need to pare down more stuff, and even though I stressed myself to the max, I can relax in a neater space, where I can take care of myself without having to worry about how to rearrange the piles of stuff.  With the mental load of the clutter gone, I can dedicate time to other more amenable things.