Do you ever find that when your house is a mess, you go into panic mode?
Dirty dishes in the sink, socks and shoes everywhere, and dog hair piling up on the staircase. It’s one thing if your house occasionally gets messy, and you can go through and easily clean everything up.
But, clutter is when your house becomes increasingly dirty, filling up with piles of stuff here and there.
Until the whole room is one huge mess.
For most people, it doesn’t take much (or long) for their house to get messy.
And it multiplies with every person living in your home.
And if you can’t keep up with it consistently, it can become a much bigger problem.
Reasons Clutter Causes Anxiety
There are a lot of reasons why clutter can cause anxiety or make your anxiety worse.
When you see large messes around your house, it’s difficult to know where to begin.
You can get overwhelmed when there is just too much stuff in your home.
Also, a lot of the things you own may have a strong sentimental value to you.
Making it difficult to get rid of things that are just adding to the clutter.
Living in a messy environment can increase your stress levels, and make you feel guilty about the way you’re living.
It can also make it very difficult to focus on more important things that you need to tend to.
A cluttered life can affect a lot of areas in your life, like your work, relationships, and your mental health.
Which makes sense why it causes anxiety.
So, is it possible to fix it? Absolutely!
How to Quickly Get Rid of Clutter
Start with One Room at a Time
Have you ever gone through the house, pulling out everything at once so you can get around to cleaning it?
This actually makes it a lot harder to tackle clutter.
Start with just one room, like your bedroom.
Go through your closet and take out all of your old clothes you don’t wear anymore.
Think about how long it’s been since you’ve worn something, and if it’s longer than 6 months, put it in a box.
Cleaning up one room at a time is very manageable, because you can take a small break once you’re done and reward yourself for getting it out of the way.
It will also motivate you to keep moving forward, which is important when you feel anxious.
You don’t want to get so overwhelmed that you just give up and let your anxiety take over.
Let Go of the Things You Don’t Use Anymore
I know it’s hard to let go of things that remind us of our childhood, or someone we care about.
But, holding onto everything people give us just isn’t possible.
Unless you have a really big house with lots of storage.
Go through all of your old things that you don’t use anymore. Things that are only still around for sentimental value.
Hold onto the things that are very important to you but work on letting go of the things that are just taking up too much space.
Like stuffed animals, CDs, or clothes. Anything that really isn’t useful anymore.
Try to consolidate the things you want to keep into one or two small bins, so they are easy to store.
Take 20 Minutes and go Through All of the Piles of Paperwork
We often hold onto old bills, receipts, and pieces of paper that take up A LOT of space.
And these pieces of paper easily start to pile up in random places around the house.
I always hold onto receipts for way too long, until it’s 3 months later and way passed the 30-day refund window.
Set a timer on your phone and gather up all of the paperwork you have laying around.
Spend 20 minutes sorting stuff out, then take a break. Hopefully you’ll be close to done by that point.
Once you have your paperwork organized, your mind will feel a lot calmer.
Sometimes the paperwork we have is very important, and it’s helpful to know exactly where it is. Put them away in folders in your office so you will always know where they are and ease your mind.
Go Through and Find What You Can Sell
If you really struggle to get rid of all the clutter in your house, posting things up for sale on Craigslist can help.
This will give you a little motivation to make some extra money, and clear out your home.
Especially if you find it difficult to get rid of certain things, selling them might make it a little easier.
You could even set up a garage sale for next Saturday. This makes is very easy to get rid of things, while making a profit!
Sometimes selling things online can take a little time, so it's not the quickest option, but even if you listed your larger items on Craigslist for free, somebody will want it.
This will help get it off your hands and clear up some of the clutter.
Get Help from Your Family/Friends
If you live with other people, it’s important to have house rules.
This way, everyone can be held accountable and you can stay more organized.
You can’t be expected to always clean up after everyone else, or that will just make your anxiety worse.
This is an easy way to develop a victim mentality because you'll try hard at first, but then give up.
And eventually you’ll just ask yourself “what’s the point?” and let the clutter continue to grow.
Sit down with whoever you live with and come up with a weekly chore list the both of you can stick to.
Once those items are identified, stick the list to the fridge and work on holding each other accountable.
This will make is much easier to manage your house and live in a clutter-free environment.
Spend 15 Minutes a Day Focused on De-Cluttering
We often have busy lives, with full-time jobs, keeping up relationships, and working out.
Cleaning your home feels like a pain, especially if you have to designate a big chunk of you Saturday cleaning up.
And it’s easy to just skip it and use that time to do something fun.
But, that can increase your anxiety because you don’t give yourself time to focus on de-cluttering.
And if you don’t manage the clutter, it will continue to get worse.
Instead, take 15 minutes out of each day (possibly right when you get home from work) tackling one item.
That could be vacuuming, doing the dishes, cleaning a bathroom, or anything else on your chores list.
This way once the weekend hits you will only have one or two things to do, and can use the rest of your time to do something fun!
Your house will stay clean and organized most of the time using this method. If you can keep up with this and just spend a few minutes each day, your house will never get too cluttered.
Set Up a Reward System
If your house is a cluttered mess, and you really don’t even want to clean any of it, come up with a reward system.
This is also helpful if you have kids.
We are much more motivated to do things we hate when there is an awesome reward waiting at the end.
Tell yourself that if you clean the whole upstairs and get rid of the clutter, you can go out to a special dinner with your boyfriend.
Or spend the rest of the day relaxing, watching Netflix.
Leaving your clutter to just sit there makes you feel guilty and unorganized.
And if you just gave yourself the reward without cleaning up first, you’d continue to feel guilty.
This way, you can work hard on getting rid of the clutter in your home and then have something exciting to look forward to afterwards.
A reward system is helpful if your anxious around clutter because it makes it an enjoyable experience.
Not just something that feels like you’re getting teeth pulled.
And after a while, your brain will start to associate cleaning and organizing as a fun experience, because you get a good reward at the end.
That will make it easier for you to get motivated and stick with it every week.