Our daily routines can be dramatically disrupted when we begin to suffer mental health problems. Seemingly small tasks, like cleaning up after ourselves or disposing of items that no longer serve us, can quickly become buried down. Our homes are left to become cluttered sites that reflect our poor mental states.

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the clutter in our homes and our state of mental health. It might seem like an aesthetic issue, but decluttering can significantly improve your outlook on life, boosting your mental health.

1. Less anxiety and stress

Think about the messiest spot in your home. Do you feel a twinge of stress? Research has shown that even thinking about our cluttered houses causes cortisol, a stress hormone, to rapidly increase.

So, if simply imagining the mess in our homes can cause this reaction, what must be happening to our bodies and brains when we’re actually physically sitting in the clutter?

This stress can arise for a number of reasons that we’re not even conscious of. Whether it’s unused fitness equipment, an unread stack of books, or cast-aside kitchen gadgets, these items are all concrete reminders of wasted money and unmet goals.

Disposing of this clutter lifts a weight off our shoulders. Keeping only things that bring us true happiness, not associated with failure, will stop us feeling anxious and stressed.

You don’t have to rid yourself completely of these items if you don’t want to – if you know you’ll use that treadmill one day, keep it stored in a self storage units have been shown to give you extra peace of mind.

2. Reduced irritability

When our homes are cluttered and messy, a mountain of things that annoy us can pile up fast.

Problems like being unable to shut drawers and cupboards crammed with too many things, or tripping up over stacks of magazines will all ignite our irritability.

This semi-permanent state of anger when we’re navigating our homes is extremely unhealthy. By removing the clutter and creating clear space, we can open up our mind and feel refreshed when we walk into our homes.

3. Forget the past

Many of us feel a real sense of guilt when we get rid of things that have been gifted to us.

The truth is, however, that we don’t need to keep every present that our ex-boyfriends and girlfriends have given us. We don’t need to hang on to that framed photo of an old best friend who hurt us badly.

Why would we want our homes, our safe haven, to be filled with possessions that make us feel guilty, ashamed, sorrowful, or angry?

By seeing these items so often, we’re constantly unearthing these memories and their associated feelings. If we declutter and get rid of them once and for all, we’ll free ourselves from the cycle of rehashing negative feelings and be able to slowly forget the memories.

4. Enhanced relationships

Nobody likes to invite guests over when their home isn’t spic and span. If your home is in a constant state of disarray, you’re likely to be stuck in a constant loop of making up excuses to avoid having your close friends and family members over.

This can hurt your loved ones who don’t understand why you’re reluctant to share parts of your life with them.

If you live with others, having a cluttered home can fuel frequent feuds. Your possessions are encroaching on their freedom in their own space. They’ll feel disrespected or may even feel helpless knowing that you’re struggling.

Tidying up and decluttering your home can contribute to improved relationships with others, allowing you to let others into your life more easily.

5. Boost your productivity

Imagine you’re writing a paper. Visualise your desk. Paper is strewn across the table, old coffee mugs gathered at the side, and your mountain of books is ready to topple right over. Can you write that paper with a clear head?

How much easier is it to do tasks when you have a clean and tidy environment? Your brain can only concentrate on a certain amount of stimuli at one time, so if you’re trying to knuckle down and be productive, your task will be so much harder in a cluttered environment.

Tidying up your space will allow you to boost your productivity, reducing your mental strain when trying to complete any task, big or small.

6. Sleep tight

Dating back to our prehistoric ancestors, our brains are programmed to consistently be on the lookout for signs of danger to us while we’re sleeping. When threats are posed, we don’t fall into a deep sleep.

Feeling anxiety about the mess around us in our homes can ignite this same reaction. Our brains cannot let go of this stress and consequently, we never reach that dreamy state of restful, deep sleep.

Good quality sleep is essential for promoting a positive state of mental health. It allows our bodies to recharge and relax and it influences our mood and outlook for the day ahead.

Final thoughts

When our mental health slips, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what’s making us feel that way. We focus on our relationships with others, our workload at school or our jobs, and financial pressures to name a few.

But our interaction with our home environment, the place we should feel secure and at ease, has a massive effect on our mental health. Living in a decluttered environment can boost our mental health, providing a solution to a number of issues that are bringing us down.