Whenever I clear clutter around me, it also declutters my mind! Tried it yet?

If a messy cupboard and an untidy room makes you cringe, the answer to sound mental health lies in clearing the clutter. I have tried it, have you?
mental health
Physical clutter tends to clutter the mind. Clear it up! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Radhika Bhirani Updated: 23 Sep 2021, 14:55 pm IST
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Doesn’t your mind always feel lighter when you lighten the load in your surroundings? Have you given a thought to how cleaning your drawers, your refrigerator, your cupboard, your desk your cabinets, or in the cosiest corners of your home affects your mood? Unless you’re someone who loves those piles of clothes and heaps of knick-knacks all around, I am confident that you can feel just how blissful I feel by indulging in a decluttering session. Right, ladies? It’s definitely a go-to activity to keep your mental health in check.

Clutter v/s Mental Health

Discarding unwanted things or reorganising stuff is almost a weekend ritual that I follow. And by the way, it is much to the chagrin of my husband. He exclaims, “You’re back to creating a mess!” Though I’d rather call it the hot mess, what the men don’t realise is that working on clearing it all out does a whole lot! It not just brings calm to the subconscious mind, but also helps us to think better, gives us a sense of control, reduces the level of stress and improves overall mental health.

mental health
Too many things, either around you or on your mind, aren’t good for your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When a space is full of things scattered all over or the clothes are all mixed up instead of being stacked in a neat pile, it tends to keep poking at the mind. I find the feeling mentally exhausting. And even though cleaning and clearing may be a physically exhausting exercise, it makes my mind and heart happy. It’s that soothing feeling you get after watching a Marie Kondo video… you get me, right?

Heard that name, haven’t you? A world renowned ‘tidying expert’, Marie Kondo helps people to transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. Clearing the clutter, she feels, sparks joy. Try practicing her style of stacking clothes or books in a colour co-ordinated fashion, and you will know. I also try to follow her mantra to discard before organising, and girls, I can assure you that it is pure joy!

Over the months since the Covid-19 pandemic, I have heard from many people who are soaking in the joy of practicing minimalism in their life. Hoarding, they felt, was just not their thing anymore. And giving is something that brought them unmatched joy.

To understand how decluttering one’s physical environment impacts the mental clutter, I reached out to Dr Minakshi Manchanda, Senior Consultant – Psychiatrist, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

She explained, “Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. And clutter bombards the mind with excessive stimuli. In turn, our brain works overtime.”

Also Read: Is your house cluttered? Here’s how it can affect your mental health

mental health
Declutter your surroundings to uplift your mood. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How does clearing the clutter boost mental health?
  1. It is like the process of letting go of all the negative thoughts and emotions which make us sad or stressed.
  2. Getting rid of excessive stuff makes us calmer and happier.
  3. A tidy space leads to a relaxed mind.

As far as minimalism is concerned, Dr Manchanda says, it means “less is more”.

“It is about avoiding the unnecessary. It is about simplicity, utility and elegance. It gives you the time, space, clarity and freedom to be your true self, and fully engage with everyday life. It means promoting the things we most value and removing what distracts us,” she said.

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But does getting rid of clutter work for everyone?

“It depends from one person to another,” noted the expert, pointing out that mental clutter stemming from physical clutter could result in delayed decisions.

Also Read: Gardening for happiness: How to grow plants for joy and contentment

mental health
Happy and clean spaces make people happier! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How to manage mental clutter for better mental health?
  • Be decisive
  • Set priorities
  • Write down your thoughts
  • Learn to let go because if you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Practice deep breathing to clear your mind
  • Share thoughts with someone you trust
  • Limit your social media intake
  • Love yourself
  • Do something to make yourself happy.

And yes, don’t forget to stay away from clutter!

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About the Author

Radhika Bhirani is a journalist with close to 15 years of experience in the Indian media industry. After writing extensively on health, lifestyle and entertainment, she leads the English content team at Health Shots. She has a special interest in writing on mental health and wellness. ...Read More

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