As a professional organizer, I can attest to the fact that sometimes the act of organizing can be quite physically and mentally demanding. Whether it’s a big project that involves lifting heavy boxes and being on your feet for hours at a time, or it’s something more mentally tasking, like going through your belongings and having to make often very emotional decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of, the process of getting organized can be a daunting one.
But as challenging as the process is, it is certainly a rewarding one. It’s no secret that having less clutter can benefit your life in numerous ways, from better sleep to better productivity to a better mood, just to name a few. You’ll find numerous articles on Google about how clutter impacts our health, and while it is true that less clutter can have a positive effect, it is rarely discussed how our health impacts clutter, and how it can often be its cause.
One way in which our health can affect our environment is through our mental well-being. While getting rid of clutter can greatly improve our mental health, sometimes it’s our mental health that leads to the clutter in the first place, creating a vicious cycle for those who want to get organized, but can’t find the motivation to do so, often leading to a source of shame and stress and making the problem worse. Decluttering and trying to stay organized is difficult for anyone, but when you add mental health conditions on top of that, such as ADHD, OCD, or clinical depression, it can become that much harder.
In many of these cases, a cluttered, unorganized environment can be a symptom of their struggle. It’s more than likely that the person affected by their mental health wants more than anything to find the motivation to clean and get organized, but finds it especially challenging to do so, making them feel trapped by their cluttered environment.
Mental health issues can be serious and deserve to be handled with respect and care. If you think your mental health is struggling, be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to seek out advice or treatment from a professional. And when it comes to getting organized, don’t try to force yourself to get everything done all in one day. In many cases, the sheer overwhelm of the task in front of you makes it that much harder to get started. Baby steps are the way to go when it comes to cleaning. Breaking down the task in front of you into smaller, more manageable goals can help make the project seem a little less overwhelming, which is a strategy I recommend to everyone, but might be even more beneficial to those who are struggling with mental health. First and foremost, start by prioritizing your physical and mental well-being, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Just as mental health can play such an important role in our executive function and our ability to get and stay organized, so can our physical health. Fundamental health practices, such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating well have a huge impact on our ability to function at our best. For some people, this is easier said than done. Those who have chronic physical diseases or disabilities can have an especially hard time carrying out certain physical tasks. In these cases, the focus should be on finding the right care, managing symptoms, performing daily tasks to the best of your ability, and getting the right help. Give yourself grace and don’t feel ashamed about needing to ask for assistance.
While decluttering can improve our lives, for some people who struggle with physical or mental health issues, the best thing you can do is prioritize your well-being. This may mean getting organized to help you feel better, but it may also mean prioritizing rest and care first. Having a network of support, from family and friends to medical professionals can be a game-changer in managing your symptoms, and the good news is you can even enlist the support of a professional organizer to help.