Episode 30: Decluttering to Improve Your Mental Health

Episode 30: Decluttering to Improve Your Mental Health

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Clutter, whether it’s physical, mental, or even digital, can create a bottleneck in our flow. This can greatly impact our clarity and mental health, even when we aren’t paying much attention to it. Decluttering to free up physical space can make a huge impact on freeing our souls.

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DECLUTTERING TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

I was recently just cleaning my office. I had two boxes that have been sitting in my office for quite some time. We had been moved into our new house for several months and those boxes just sat, unpacked and I really didn’t pay much attention to them.

Then over the weekend, I finally decided to get my office in order with the vision I had been meditating on for quite some time. I cleaned up the boxes, put things and order, and all of the sudden, I felt like I could breathe again. Really breathe. Even though those boxes weren’t taking up much physical space, the mental clutter they caused was profound.

This got me thinking about how clutter really affects our mental health. Research has shown there are many benefits of decluttering and that clutter can impact our stress, our anxiety, and our overwhelm. And when we have clutter in our lives, this can impact our nervous system, it can impact our stress response. So now, I really want to talk about how you can declutter your life to improve your mental health.

Physical clutter = mental clutter. Cleaning your physical space is therapeutic!

START SMALL

The decluttering process can quickly cause a case of overwhelm and bring in MORE anxiety, rather than helping to calm it. So, when decluttering, start small. The clutter didn’t accumulate overnight, so it will take some time to declutter! Don't spend all your spare time decluttering.

Please don't hurt or exhaust yourself to get it done. If you just take small baby steps to clear up one spot or space at a time, eventually everything will be in the proper place. It will allow you to have more flow and ease in your life because your brain is looking at everything that's in the space and it can become overwhelmed.

When you declutter it, you have the opportunity to breathe more, your stress level will go down and you'll be in flow with the universe because you're making space for new things in your life to be embodied.

What I want to invite you to bring in when you're decluttering is more happiness, more joy, more peace, more freedom, and more love. You're embodying emotions that you want to feel and allowing yourself to emulate and vibrate out into the world to make a difference as well. When you're cleaning up your space, you get to bring more of that in.

CLEANING AS THERAPY

Cleaning and clearing your space can be one of the most therapeutic exercises to reduce stress, anxiety, and mental fog. But, there can also be triggers from your past that make it a task you avoid or even dread doing. One of the things that I really love to do when I clean is to always set the intention that I'm going to learn something new about myself while I'm cleaning.

This helps my mindset when I clean because I don't want to be triggered when I'm cleaning. I don't want to have bad past experiences percolate to the surface where I feel frozen in fear so I can't clean. So, one of the things I do is set mantras. I will listen to positive affirmations or positive music. These mantras and affirmations are great while I'm cleaning because I can get the job done and feel good while I'm doing it. I have a good mindset going into it as well.

Listening to positive affirmations, mantras or music can turn cleaning into a meditative experience!

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP

I bought this book a long, long time ago and it's called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I loved this book and especially loved the exercise of asking yourself if a particular item in your home brought you joy. She mentions that one of the easiest ways to start decluttering is to begin with your closet.

Her suggestion is to take all of your clothing and put it in a big gigantic pile. Just doing this exercise and seeing the sheer volume of clothes you have will change your perspective on buying clothes in the future. I love this exercise because it allows you to look at everything you have.

Marie also suggests that you ask yourself if an object brings you joy. You might hear a yes. You might hear a no. You can also use a pendulum to ask this question. Asking this question will allow you to see if you are holding on to something that no longer brings you joy. So, if it no longer brings you joy, why are you holding onto it then? Once you are ready to let it go, you can either donate it, sell it, or throw it out.

Ask yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?”

A SHINY SINK?

Another book that has helped millions of families get organized, and one I personally enjoyed is Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley. She is the founder of an entire system called Fly Lady and I found this by chance on TikTok!

There was a girl on TikTok that was cleaning her house. As she was cleaning her house, she was talking about how her perspective on cleaning and organizing her house has changed and how simple it is now because of the system she implemented in this book. So of course, I had to check this book out for myself.

So many of the suggestions in the book were so simple, yet profound! My favorite part was taking two seconds first thing in the morning to clean your kitchen sink. The system in the book is really about being mindful of the cleaning habits we can form so we can develop a routine of tidying up. This way, our clutter does not accumulate to the point where it becomes so much, it is overwhelming and we shut down!

Baby steps, over time, really make a huge difference and the Fly Lady System is an awesome cheerleader for taking those steps!

Create a daily routine of tidying up to prevent clutter and an overwhelming mess to form.

MAKING IT PERSONAL

Not every decluttering system works for every person. You want to educate yourself on a decluttering system that works for you. Do your own research. Educate yourself on decluttering, because that's really going to help you stay on task.

I want you to start off really small. Don't over-exert yourself and overdo it where then you are disenchanted and don't want to continue the process. When your house is orderly and it feels really good, you're going to bring more happiness and joy into your life.

Also, know that your space is not meant to be perfect. Yes, we want to declutter our space and we want to make room for more flow. But, if it is causing you to go into complete perfection mode, if it is stressing you out more than what it would be to just leave the mess for the night and take care of it in the morning, it's not worth it.

There's always balance. We want to find balance in our actions, balance in our thoughts, and balance in our deeds. The more that you start looking at how you can balance, the more you're going to see where systems really work for you and where they don't work for you. Customize them and make them your own so that you can have a space that brings you a lot of joy and a lot of abundances.

We want to find balance in our actions, thoughts, and deeds to bring more joy and abundance to our lives.

DIGITAL CLUTTER

Now, let’s talk about cleaning up your digital space! There is so much in our digital worlds taking up space. Look at your deleted folders, your trash, and your spam folder. Let that stuff go. If you're worried about if you're going to delete something, you can always back it up.

When you are deleting these things and feel safer having them backed up, please just make sure you really do have them backed up. I’m not a tech-type girl, so I always have someone else who is more educated in this area double-check for me. I want to make sure I'm not deleting something that I might find useful later on.

But, remember, these digital things are taking up space. When you're deleting these things, trimming down your friend list on social media or you're deleting old emails, think about what it is that you're wanting to attract into your life and say thank you, as you delete what no longer serves you.

You're just saying thank you as you're letting these things go. The digital space is just as cluttered as our physical spaces that hold physical objects (because everything is energy), and so we want to make space for the new by letting go of the old.

Say ‘thank you,’ as you let go of the old to make room for the new!

THE 20/20 RULE

One great way to keep the clutter at bay is the “20/20 Rule!”

Can you get it in less than 20 minutes? And is it less than $20?

If there's something that you really want, but you already have something already, ask yourself these questions and then sit with the idea. Do I really need this thing? For me, I’ll often add items that have my interest to my Amazon cart and then come back to it later to see if I do really still want that item.

Half the time I'm just excited about something and I truly do want to make that purchase and the other half, I’m not as enthusiastic about the item as I was just a couple of days ago. Giving myself that breather helps me make more intentional choices in what I’m bringing into my environment.

I also use the 20/20 rule here. If that item is less than $20 and would take me less than 20 minutes to order it, I don’t have to purchase it the second it pops into my head. It will still be there later, should I decide it’s definitely something I want!

Regardless of the point, we want to watch our spending. When we overly spend on things that are not necessary, they take up space in our home.

So declutter because you're going to feel less stress, overwhelm, and anxiety, and you're going to start embodying happiness, joy, freedom, and peace. So, declutter my friends…

  • You deserve it!
  • You deserve to feel good.
  • You deserve to bring more happiness to your life.

If you enjoyed this episode with Amy Robeson, we would love to invite you to check out other inspirational episodes by clicking here. Enjoy!

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Full transcription of the episode:

I was recently just cleaning my office. I had two boxes that have been sitting in my office for quite some time. We recently moved several months ago, and these boxes were from that move. I did not care if they were unpacked right away, but this weekend, I was like, I'm going to tackle these boxes. I'm going to put them away. It's time to get my office in order to decorate it. I've been meditating on what I want this space to look like and feel like, and I finally have the vision. So I'm like, okay, I'm ready to start getting it put together. And so I cleaned up these boxes, and immediately I could feel just like I could breathe.

All of a sudden, I feel like I could breathe. And it's because these boxes were taking up space, and the boxes were filled with various items that I don't use all the time. That's why I wasn't necessarily urgent to unpack them. They really just needed to be stored. And when we moved in, there was no storage shelves or anything like that, and I was just waiting for those to get done, the painters to get done, and a list of other things to get done.

And finally, we're in the space that I can finally put it away. Well, it got me thinking about how clutter really affects our mental health. Research has shown that clutter can impact our stress, our anxiety, and our overwhelm. And when we have clutter in our lives, this can impact our nervous system, it can impact our stress response. And so today's episode, I want to talk about how you can declutter your life to improve your mental health.

And the first step I'm going to share is to educate yourself on a decluttering system that works for you. Not every decluttering system works. I'm going to give you some tips. I'm also going to give you two books that I have found really helpful. But do your own research. Educate yourself on decluttering, because that's really going to help you stay on task. And the first step or tip that I want to share with you is start small. It has probably taken a long time for this clutter to accumulate. Wherever it is, start small. Don't spend hours and hours and hours and days and days and days and days decluttering. If that does not work, for you.

Also, please don't hurt yourself to get it done because if you start small, you can just take baby steps and getting it cleared up. If you just take small baby steps to clearing up one spot or space at a time, eventually everything will be in the proper place and it will allow you to have more flow and ease in your life because your brain is looking at everything that's in the space and it can become overwhelmed.

And so when you declutter it, you have the opportunity to breathe more, your stress level will go down and you'll be in flow with the universe because you're making space for new things in your life to be embodied. What you're wanting to embody, what I want to invite you to invite in when you're decluttering is more happiness, more joy, more peace, more freedom, more love. You're embodying emotions that you want to feel and embody and allow yourself to emulate and vibrate out into the world to make a difference as well. And when you're cleaning up your space, you get to bring more of that in.

Also, if you're a person that was triggered in the past from cleaning, for whatever reason, one of the things that I really love to do when I clean is I always set the intention that I'm going to learn something new about myself while I'm cleaning.

And this helps my mindset when I clean because I don't want to be triggered when I'm cleaning. I don't want to have bad past experiences percolate to the surface where I feel frozen in fear so I can't clean. And so one of the things that I always do is I will set mantras and I will listen to positive affirmations or positive music and then I will save affirmations to myself while I'm cleaning as well so that I can get the job done and I feel good while I'm doing it and I have a good mindset going into it as well.

So with that being said, let's talk about one of the books that really helped me to declutter my house. And I bought this book a long, long time ago and it's called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I found the book really helpful and there's an exercise in the book that I have used and continue to use to this day, and that is with clothing. She mentions that one of the easiest ways to start decluttering is to declutter your closet first.

And so one of the things that she mentions to do is to take all of your clothing, your undies, your pants, dresses, skirts, shirts, anything that has to do with clothing. You put it in a big gigantic pile. And just doing this exercise and seeing the sheer volume of clothes you have will change your perspective on buying clothes in the future. I promise you that. And I love this exercise because it allows you to look at everything you have. And then what Marie suggests is you ask if the object brings you joy. I love this exercise.

It's really great to do with her friend. I helped my friend move once, and we did her closet, and I think she would have been there for days if I wasn't there. And you just ask yourself, does it bring me joy? And you might hear a yes. You might hear a no. If you want to use a pendulum, you can use a pendulum. And what it will do is it will allow you to see, okay, I'm holding on to something that no longer brings me joy. So why am I holding onto it then? You can either donate it, sell it, or get rid of it.

Either way, you're going to be making space. I do this every year with my closet. I actually did this when I was pregnant as well. And my friend was like, you're getting rid of clothes while you're pregnant. I'm like, yeah, I know that it doesn't bring me joy, so why am I going to keep it? So I just got rid of those clothes so I can make more space for new things. I hate moving things that I'm no longer using or want to keep. And so when you're decluttering a tip to ask yourself is, does it bring me joy? And if it doesn't, do not keep it. Let it go.

And she has a whole section on sentimental items, things like that, which I found very helpful. Definitely check out that book if that's something you're interested in doing. There's another book that I have found really helpful. And this book, actually, I found out about this system, and it's called The Fly Lady System. And I found out about this just on a video on Tik Tok. And it was a girl that was cleaning her house, and she was talking about how she has really changed her perspective on cleaning and how keeping her house organized has become really, really simple by this book.

So I was like, oh, I want to check out that book because I think that it's always interesting to educate yourself on different cleaning systems, on what works for you, on how to get organized. And then also, I love hearing people's different perspectives on things. And some of the book resonated with me, and some it didn't apply because I wasn't in a space of the extreme clutter that some of these women were going through. But I found it really helpful on some of her suggestions on how to keep your house clean and some daily activities in order to do that.

And one of her suggestions, which I thought was really, really great, was to start with cleaning your kitchen sink every single day. And I love this concept because, one, I hate when my kitchen sink is dirty, and two, I was like, Duh. It takes 2 seconds to scrub your sink out, why not do it first thing in the morning? And that makes sense to me. So this particular book is called Sync Reflections. We'll link both of these books in the show notes, but this particular author has helped a half a million families out.

It's a really cool system. It's a great book on how to keep your house clean if that's something that you're looking forward to. So there's tons and tons of books out there, guys. What I want to encourage you to do is look at the space in your home. What is taking up space that doesn't bring you joy? Get rid of it, let it go, donate it, give it to someone that has use for it. I love donating things at my house. Sometimes we'll sell things, but a lot of times I will give it away just because I know that somebody else could really use it and it will bring me a lot of joy.

Just gifting it to them as well. The other thing is I want you to start off really small. Don't over exert yourself and overdo it where then you are disenchanted and you don't want to continue the process. When your house is orderly and it feels really good, you're going to bring more happiness and joy into your life. Also, know that it is not meant to be perfect. Let me say that again, it is not meant to be perfect.

Yes, we want to declutter our space, we want to make room for more flow. But if it is causing you to go into complete perfection mode and it is stressing you out more than what it would be to just leave the basket full of clothes on your sofa for the night and take care of it in the morning, it's not worth it. There's always balance. We want to find balance in our actions, balance in our thoughts, and balance in our deeds.

And the more that you start looking at how you can balance what you have going on in your life so you can declutter everything, the more you're going to see where systems really work for you and where they don't work for you. Customize them and make them your own so that you can have a space that brings you a lot of joy and a lot of abundance. I know for me, I have certain tendencies that if I don't do something right away, it will not get done right away. And so, depending on the day, I will look at what I have to get done, and what serves the highest good to get done.

And I never beat myself up if it's not going to get completed because tomorrow is the next day. I just make sure that I'm in a space where I know to what degree something is impacting me and its importance level as well. There's two more things I want to talk to you about one is cleaning up and decluttering your digital space. There's tons of things in the digital space that's taking up space. Look at your delete, your trash. Let that stuff go.

If you're worried about if you're going to delete something, you can always back it up. You can back up all of your stuff before you delete things, please note, make sure that you back it up or you have someone that knows how to do this. Because for me, I'm not a techie. I need someone to help me. I want to make sure I'm not deleting something that I might find useful later on. Also, all of these things are taking up space. And so when you're deleting these things or when you're trimming down your friend list on social media or you're deleting old emails, think about what it is that you're wanting to attract into your life and say thank you, as you delete it.

And you're just saying thank you as you're letting these things go. Because the digital space is just as cluttered as physical objects, because everything is energy, and so we want to make space for those things. Another thing to curb spending is looking at the 2020 Rule. Can you get it in less than 20 minutes? And it's less than $20.

So if there's something that you're really wanting but you already have something already, ask yourself these questions and then sit with the idea, do I really need this thing? I know for me, I'll go shopping on Amazon and I will put things in my cart, and then I will come back to it a day later or two days later, or a week later, and see if I actually really want that item. Because half the time I'm just excited about something and I'm like, I think I want something, but I'm not sure.

And so a lot of times I will not purchase something if the idea just popped into my mind. And I will also ask myself this 2020 Rule, is it within 20 minutes? Is it less than $20? But the dangerous thing about Amazon is you can click and it's within seconds, and it will be delivered later that day, depending on if you have an Amazon in your area or not, or if it's local or something like that.

Regardless of the point, we want to watch our spending. And when we overly spend on things that are not necessary, they take up space in our home. And so the 2020 Rule is awesome for looking at how we overly spend on inexpensive items. And a $20 item can be expensive for most people. But the way inflation works and the way that our society works, you can drop $100 without even blinking your eyes at Target. And so you deserve to feel good.

You deserve to bring more happiness in your life. So declutter, because you're going to feel less stress, less overwhelmed, less anxiety, and you're going to start embodying happiness, joy, freedom, peace. Because you're making space to be in flow with the universe and you deserve it. So declutter my friends, you deserve it. I will see you soon. Bye.

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