The new Netflix hit Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has sparked a surge of decluttering across the country. Thrift stores say they’ve been overwhelmed with donations since the show aired – even more so than the usual New Year decluttering season. This brings up an important question: could tidying up reduce your stress and anxiety? Let’s explore the topic a little further…
Physical Clutter Can Cause Stress
It’s true, living in a cluttered environment can bring about stress. The objects may remind you of incomplete tasks you need to tackle. It’s as if you have an ongoing to-do list, but instead of words on a page, you see objects in their place. Thus having a cleaner environment could relieve some stress and anxiety.
Not All Clutter Is Bad Clutter
Every person has a unique perspective on clutter. You may have objects you want to put on display, like collectibles or family photos. These items make you feel happy, content and safe. There is nothing wrong with keeping them around.
One of the core concepts in Tidying Up is keeping items that “spark joy” for you. It’s not about getting rid of everything. It’s about focusing on the objects that add value to your life. If clearing out unneeded items would bring you closer to the items you care about, that could indeed help you de-stress.
Tidying Up May Feel Stressful
Having less clutter could reduce your stress, but the process of decluttering may be a stress trigger in its own right. This is particularly true for sentimental items you may not be ready to part with. Don’t set out with a goal of removing a certain number or volume of items. Instead, focus on finding the items you no longer want or need, and find new value in the objects you love.
Clutter May Not Be Your Primary Source of Stress
Decluttering may provide immense stress relief for some. That doesn’t mean it will be effective for you. Sure, we can all benefit from having a cleaner home, but you should also think about what your primary stressor is. Are you struggling to keep up with work? Do you feel your time is stretched too thin? Do you need to re-adjust your finances? Find the solutions that will help you the most.
Finding a Balance That Fits Your Life
No one leads a perfect life. There will always be areas of your life that could use improvement, and that’s OK! The key is to find happiness and balance. Surround yourself with positivity, and work on your goals little-by-little. Declutter when you need to. Take a break when you need it. Respect your limitations, and celebrate the small triumphs.
If you would like personalized advice for how to reduce stress and anxiety, therapy is a great option. You can speak with a licensed therapist and learn techniques that fit your lifestyle. Heron Ridge Associates offers anxiety counseling, depression counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling, and a number of other counseling services. Give us a call at (734) 454-3560 to find a therapist near you.