Depression and a cluttered home tend to enhance the others’ negative qualities. When your home is a cluttered mess it can deepen your depression. The more depressed you get the harder it is to tidy your home.
You know if you could just muster up the energy to declutter, you could help eliminate just one more thing that triggers your depression.
If you can’t manifest that energy, you get even more depressed.
I have suffered from depression for a long time. I have about three good days before I have a bad day. This has gone on and on every week of my life (it is exhausting).
So in a given week, I feel on top of everything, euphoric even, then depression slaps me hard in the face, and I can barely get out of the bed, let alone deep clean and declutter my home.
If you suffer from depression, anxiety tends to struggle along with it, and nothing can make me more anxious than a messy home.
Everyone is facing battles that no one else can see and sometimes no one can understand.
When you’re feeling this alone in the world, and no one understands why your messy home is making you cry in the bathroom… I just want you to know… I UNDERSTAND.
Your pain is real, you are not just complaining, you are not overreacting, and you are not being dramatic.
You have depression. It makes things harder than it does for other people.
So many people can declutter with no problems. They can deep clean their homes, maintain a schedule, and seem to conquer everything as easily as pie.
Yet for someone with depression, these things can be mountains that you just cannot climb…right now. And that is OK! Because there are ways for you to manage to declutter your home even though you are suffering a never-ending battle in your mind.
Your depression does not define who you are, just as much as someone in a wheelchair is not defined by their limitations.
Anyone can do anything they set their minds to, but maybe your journey with managing how to declutter with depression just needs to take a different path to get there.
So let’s talk about why you should declutter your home when you suffer from depression with an example.
Take this familiar example for instance…
You didn’t clean up the kitchen in the morning because you thought you would get to it after work in the afternoon.
The afternoon comes and depression reared its ugly head. You walk in the door, see the pile of dishes in the sink, the food bits on the counters, and the crumbs on the floor and you just want to…cry.
Realistically you could clean up this mess in about 15-20 minutes but with depression your reality shifts to a false idea of this situation.
In your mind, this will take you hours and you do not have the energy and you leave it for tomorrow.
Now if your home were decluttered, cleaning up would not take as long and you would start to loosen up on your false ideas of HOW long it will take you to clean.
The reason why this starts to change is that you have fewer items to clean. There are only 4 cups in this sink to clean, not 12.
Wiping down the kitchen counters isn’t as difficult because you have less stuff on them to have to clean around. Sweeping up the crumbs isn’t as hard because you have nothing but a rug on the kitchen floor.
So you can see that decluttering your home will help you manage your depression better.
If you are ready to start taking some strides towards a decluttered home then I encourage you to read the following tips to battle depression and your clutter at the same time.
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GIVE YOURSELF A MUCH NEEDED PEP TALK
This is your tough-love moment from me (another person suffering from depression alongside you).
Stop overwhelming yourself with the entire home. You got a lifetime worth of items stuffed in your home, you WILL NOT and CANNOT take care of this type of project in one day, one weekend, or even one week.
Respect what you have brought into your home by taking your time to go through it properly.
Declutter when you FEEL like it.
STOP putting pressure on yourself to try and declutter when you just cannot mentally get there. Wait until you got the right head space to work on an area.
If you truly have problems parting with your items due to sentimental triggers then I would encourage you to reach this article as well before you start decluttering.
WORK ONE AREA
Tackling an entire room seems great, but if you don’t think you can get through it all in one day, then opt for a smaller area instead.
One day clean, declutter, and organize your dresser. Then call it a day.
Another day clean, declutter, and organize a kitchen drawer. Then call it a day.
These “micro-decluttering” sessions work wonders for people that suffer from depression because you do not overexert yourself, yet you still accomplished something.
If you have a calendar, then write down a small project to do on certain days of the month. Then you don’t even have to think of what to do to that day, you can just check your calendar and see that you challenged yourself to clean out one bathroom drawer.
The time is going to pass anyway, so why not declutter a small area here and there, and by the end of a month, you probably have decluttered a couple of rooms.
CHANGE ONE SMALL HABIT
We all develop habits that make us go backward in our decluttering efforts which send us back into a depression.
Find one habit that you could change and work on it until you have broken it.
Maybe you toss your purse and work lunch bag onto the kitchen table, making it feel cluttered. Everyday vow that if you cannot do anything else that day, you will at least put your purse and lunch bag where they belong.
Find a small and simple change you can do that will make an impact on decluttering your environment.
BE RUTHLESS WHEN YOU HAVE THE ENERGY
I know you know about the energy I am talking about. Your depression takes you down a lot but then every once in a while you get this magical burst of energy.
When that happens, get ruthless with decluttering. Go through the hard stuff. The clothes, the pantry, under the kitchen sink.
Don’t waste this energy on a simple and easy decluttering project, use it on something bigger and more impactful.
Believe me, the effects of accomplishing a larger decluttering project will have some wonderful lingering positive effects in your life that can help you offset some of your depression
Do You Feel Sad After Decluttering?
FIND A MUSE
We all need inspiration at times and sometimes that is all we need to find our motivation!
Read a good blog post, article, or magazine that inspires you to get started.
Join support Facebook groups for people who are suffering from the same struggles you are.
Go out and purchase something new for your home that gets you excited to declutter and organize.
I know every time I buy a new jar or container I get a little boost of excitement and motivation to make an organizational change in my home.
Sometimes you just need to find a muse and there are many avenues to find one.
KICK PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR HOME
I’m sure your thinking, “Whoa there!” But sometimes our spouses, friends, and family can make it harder to clean and declutter our homes.
Sure maybe that can be helpful (if your lucky), but more often than not they are distracting and can dampen your ability to finish what you want to accomplish.
Maybe the kids can have an overnight slumber party with friends, maybe hubby can visit his parents. Or maybe they just go to the movies and give you some alone time so you can do what you need to do.
So kick them out, put on music, light some candles, and declutter your mind so you can declutter your home.
OK so maybe you still aren’t ready to leave the bed and get started, and that is OK.
Maybe you can grab a pen and paper and come up with a game plan instead. (you don’t even need to leave the bed for this one!)
When you declutter you are going to need a few things.
A couple trash bags for trash.
A box or two for items you want to donate.
A box or two for items you wish to sell (if you want to).
If you are going to sell, figure out the game plan for that. Are you wanting to post things online to sell or are you going to host a yard sale? Figure out the plan for these items ahead of time.
If you are going to donate, figure out where, Goodwill, Salvation Army?
Are you going to need anyone’s help? Maybe you’re looking to donate furniture, that could take an extra pair of hands.
Make a list of all the areas in your home you know you want to declutter. Then pick a date you want to start and complete each area.
MOST IMPORTANTLY… STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP
So what if your home looks like an episode of hoarders? So what if you can’t open a door without things falling out? So what if you’ve been too embarrassed to have people over?
You’re here in this moment, living with depression, living with a cluttered home, and it is OK.
Beating up ourselves will not change a darn thing. So why waste the energy?
I like to compare this often to people who beat themselves up over gaining weight (which I do on the regular).
You’re mad at yourself for eating that Cake Milkshake from Dairy Queen (you heard me right…cake…milkshake…it was glorious).
But you ate that milkshake! It happened, it’s done. Time to move on. If eating that milkshake upset you that much, then eat a salad for dinner.
The same is to be said about decluttering with depression. You are beating yourself up because you let it get this way. It happened, it’s done. Time to move on.
If your cluttered home upset you that much, then declutter a drawer.
Do not waste another moment beating yourself up for your cluttered home or your depression.
Overall you have to embrace your depression. If you stop looking at it as a weakness you will be able to start to declutter your home at a pace that works for you.
So take your time, stop beating yourself up, and do what you can when you can.
The only thing you cannot do is decide to give up… every step you take closer to decluttering your home is one step further than where you were yesterday.
That my friends… is progress.