Tackle Stress by Tackling Clutter

December 2021

Clutter doesn’t just take up physical space. It can also weigh you down emotionally. If you’re overwhelmed by piles of junk mail, closets of old clothes, boxes of outdated electronics, and other unneeded possessions, it’s time to start decluttering.

While it can seem like yet another thing on your to-do list, decluttering can be an important part of self-care. A more organized home can help you reduce stress, regain focus, and make space for new possibilities. Here’s how to make decluttering a manageable and low-stress activity:

Prioritize and plan.

Pick an area to tackle first. If you plan to donate items, determine where and when you’ll drop them off. You don’t want to create piles that just sit there.

Start small.

Tackle piles 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Work on one small pile, one drawer, or one box. As you make progress, increase the amount of time you spend decluttering.

Make decluttering a habit.

Mark your decluttering session on your calendar so you remember to keep up the habit.

Create a three-pile sorting system.

One pile is for things you want to keep. One pile is for things you can donate. One pile is for items to throw away. Once you’re done sorting, put to-keep items in their proper locations.

Distract yourself.

Decluttering can feel tedious. Make the time go by quicker by listening to your favorite tunes or an engrossing podcast.

Serious clutter, known as hoarding, is a mental health issue. Reach out for help if:

  • You become distressed at the thought of throwing things away.
  • Clutter interferes with your ability to function on a daily basis.
  • Clutter is creating cramped and unsanitary living conditions.

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