Imagine this: your home is sparkling clean with no clutter in sight, ready for your evening guests. You look around proud of your home, but something is not quite right. Could it be the 10 pairs of shoes, 3 coats, junk mail and broken lamp that you’ve chucked in the spare closet to clear the space? Emily Wapples of Simply Sorted is here to tell us all about why hiding our clutter is not the answer.
We all have that one area of our home where our belongings go to, never to see the light of day again. The area that amazes us with its insatiable storage capacity and which we affectionately refer to as “Narnia”, or “The Tardis”. Maybe yours is in the loft, under the bed, the spare room, or (for people who don’t live in London) in the garage. These areas are crammed full of things that we no longer use on a regular basis or, possibly, at all. But it’s fine, because at the end of the day, we can close the doors and forget about them. Except, often we don’t.
This clutter consumes important brain space and clouds our judgement. We perceive the task to be insurmountable, so we put off trying to tackle it, which encourages negative thought patterns. As a result, we are more likely to procrastinate in making changes in other areas of our lives. While we may be able to escape the physical clutter, it is more difficult to escape its psychological effects. Constantly ruminating on the situation can cause, or contribute to, poor mental health. This in turn can make us increasingly unmotivated to tackle the area and to make those life changes we so desperately crave.
The most common reason I’ve heard is that they don’t have time (or at least, they think they don’t). And even if time isn’t so much of an issue, they would (understandably) rather be doing something more interesting. Some may be overwhelmed by the perceived size of the task at hand, while others may just be lacking motivation to get started.
I’ve worked with many clients to help them declutter and organise the problematic areas of their home which they can’t stop worrying about. Some have accumulated belongings over 30 years that are now tightly packed into their loft. While others have unopened boxes of things in their spare room, or under the stairs, left over from a house move.
The intention was never to leave the items in these spaces forever; they were all placed there as a temporary solution, just to keep them out of the way. But months, or years pass and the items remain boxed up (if they’re lucky) behind closed doors.
And not only do those original items stay there, additional pieces join them. Because, once we designate an area as an unofficial “dumping ground” for items we no longer need, want or use, we are more inclined to add to the clutter collection, thereby perpetuating the problem. It may take a few hours to a few days to declutter and organise the area concerned. However, once we’ve finished, clients have overwhelmingly reported that they feel an immense sense of freedom and relief.
Clients are able to think more clearly and have the capacity to make decisions and bring about changes in other areas of their lives. They feel empowered to take action; the process often motivates them to declutter other areas of their home or to start that project they’ve been putting off for years. And although it is too simplistic to expect that the process is able to cure mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, it may help to alleviate some of the symptoms; even if the benefits are experienced on a more long term basis.