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How to Declutter To Improve Your Mental Health

By Ashley Delmar

Decluttering has come into vogue in the age of Marie Kondo and with more of us leading busy lives with little time for ourselves, it makes sense that society has turned to decluttering as an avenue for stress-relief. The environment we live in has a huge impact on our mood. If the clutter on our desk or in our bedroom causes us stress, we can carry that stress with us throughout the day. Getting rid of unwanted clutter is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to improve your mental health and create a more inviting place to live. 

Create Keep, Donate, and Trash Piles 

Create three separate piles to designate your stuff to, one for things you'll keep, one for things you'll donate, and another for things destined for the trash. As you examine each item, decide whether you will keep, donate, or trash it, and assign it to the appropriate pile. This tip works well because it creates a visual representation of your stuff and forces you to make a decision quickly, removing the temptation to keep unneeded items around the house while you ponder their fate. The added option of donating items while decluttering makes this tip a win-win. 

The Six-Month Rule

According to home organization expert Peter Walsh, you should toss anything cluttering up your home that you haven't used in the last 6 months. This gives you ample opportunity to find a legitimate reason to use whatever new gadget is currently sitting in your closet. If your clothes closet is bursting at the seams, Walsh recommends a six-month long litmus test to determine which clothes you actually wear. Start by facing all the hangers in your closet in one direction. Every time you take something out to wear it, return it to the hanger facing in the opposite direction. At the end of six months or however long you run your experiment for, you'll have a visual representation of the things you wear and the things taking up unnecessary space. 

One Step at a Time 

Decluttering your space can be overwhelming, especially if you don't know where to begin. Start by choosing the area in your house causing you the most grief. If the mess of cosmetics lining your bathroom counter makes you want to rip your hair out, start there. Next, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and use that time to go through your things and decide what you want to keep and what you can live without. When the timer goes off, your decluttering for the day is done. The most important thing in decluttering your home is to find somewhere to start. Even 5 minutes of organizing can make a huge difference for your space and your mental health. 

Decluttering your home has many positive effects besides just getting rid of junk. Decluttering can serve as an exercise in resilience and patience building and can help to improve your mood. It's important to remember that organization doesn't have to happen all at once. Choosing one area of your home to work on, utilizing methods like the three piles system, and setting a cleaning timer can make a huge dent in the amount of clutter you need to sift through. By taking things one day at a time, you'll soon have a home that Marie Kondo herself would be proud of. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Clemente, Calif.

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