Life has been a bit stressful recently and I have been ill. Over the last couple of months my bedroom has become a tip and a dumping ground. It is like a teenager’s bedroom. Today I felt able to start tackling it. As I was putting things into the laundry basket and putting things away I wondered how I had let it get like that. I thought back to other times my room had been a mess and I then realised that my clutter in my bedroom was connected to how I was feeling inside.
The chaos in my bedroom was a representation of the chaos in my head. Stress is often connected to some one having a cluttered home. It often happens in times of change. Stuff scattered everywhere in my bedroom was a manifestation of my anxiety, my confusion, my inability to control a situation. When I feel calm, and life is running smoothly, my room is organised, clean and tidy. As my mind races, my mood drops, and I feel stressed, the standard of my room declines.
Ironically, a cluttered environment also causes stress, anxiety, and reduces sleep and so it is a vicious circle. The clutter did not just appear over night, but over weeks when I have felt overwhelmed and have been too lethargic (or ‘busy’) to put things away. that was my excuse to myself, anyway. However it was not the root cause of the clutter.
My clutter is tied to my inner emotions and l so I realised that just tidying my room was not going to solve any thing. It will be just as bad in another month, and I will pretend to myself that I have not had time again. I therefore had to find the real cause of the clutter by doing a lot of soul searching. To do that I did the following:-
- Settle my brain. I know that I have not been making time for my self care recently. The way that I settle and calm my chaotic head is to spend some time in nature, being mindful, taking photos and taking note of what is around me. This includes using all my senses. Some people meditate. We all have our own individual ways of calming our mind. As I drove home from a stressful job when the children were young, I would play music and sing at the top of my voice to calm my brain so that I felt settled by the time I got home. It will take time to calm my brain, and one walk will not make the psychological clutter disperse, but I know now that making time for this has to be a priority now.
- Review the clutter. As I wandered around my home I realised that although the other rooms were tidy, they were still not as organised as they usually are. Things were out of place and I wasn’t bothered by it. Some of this is because it is Christmas and there are decorations and ornaments around, but not all of it. As I looked at the clutter I asked myself which emotions I was feeling? What was causing the clutter and chaos in my head? What had changed recently? I explored the emotions that I was suppressing. Today I realised that I was hanging on to feelings of anger, guilt, helplessness, and grief. I was hanging on to memories of the past in the same way as I hang on to my Mum’s tea set. I was scared to let go. I was scared to feel those emotions in case I wasn’t strong enough to cope with them. In the past I might have bought things I didn’t need to suppress those emotions. Now I was letting the clutter in my head spill out into my home.
Luckily for me I have done a lot of therapy, self reflection, and work on myself and so have learned to recognise my emotions, (although they may be subconsciously hidden for a while), and then deal with them. I know as well as putting things away today I do need to address the emotions or else the clutter will not disappear. Some people will be overwhelmed and need help to explore their issues. Professional help might benefit some one that is hoarding or is addicted to buying things, as there will be deeply rooted emotions and complex issues there. However, if clutter isn’t a massive problem, but does seem to be increasing in areas of your home and life, it might be worth asking yourself what is really causing the clutter and why are you hanging on to things? It might be fear of not having money in the future, or memories of the past when times were hard. I now think that it is only possible to do a final declutter when the clutter in your head is finally dealt with. Do you think that the two are connected?