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Cluttered Home = Cluttered Mood?

You just worked all day and are ready to unwind, refresh, and relax for a minute before getting to all of your home “Todo’s”.  As you enter your home ready for a break, you walk into dishes in the sink, toys and clothes on the floor, laundry piled up, counters full of junk mail, trash to be emptied, and so on – you know what it looks like.


Do you ever notice that the condition of your home impacts your mood?  I do. 

It’s hard to go to work and come home to a space that isn’t ready for relaxing. Instead, it signals your next “home” work shift is already starting, right? Do you ever barely take time during the day as it is to eat or take a break, on your break, to finally get home and can’t even get past the first room you enter and have to start “working” again?  There’s nothing wrong with a home that is well lived in and loved but when there is constant clutter and disorganization it’s difficult to feel your home is your oasis.  Women often view their home as a reflection of self and their comforting, resting place. But, a busy day that begins and ends in a cluttered mess means there’s no actual resting or peaceful reset. Never mind when the kids are upset and there are outside stressors.  When my home is in a state of disorder, so is my mood!

OR is it the other way around for you? Because you are in a down mood or disorganized or depressive state the home environment becomes a reflection of that mental state. Either way, here are some simple suggestions to help transition from work to home and transform the clutter into comfort:

Take Time to Transition

STOP! Don’t walk in yet.  Allow transition time from work to home. Before you even walk in the door, tell yourself the next 15-20 minutes are my “shift” change – you’re not even going to pay attention to the condition of the home during this time.  Take this shift to check in with the kids, change clothes, wash your hands, and “wash away” the workday. Get a drink of water, take a deep breath…breathe in for 4 seconds, hold, and breathe out for 4 seconds.

Some of these mood changes that occur based on the condition of your home, or as a result of a cloudy mood, can be relieved with some easy steps to maintain a de-cluttered home and find more joy.

Take Care of the Basics

Taking care of some basics each day can make a big difference.  For me, if the dishes are done and my bed is made I can fully function. What are the areas or types of clutter that seem to always stand out to you? If you do nothing else in the home today – take care of that.

Designate a Mess-Free Zone

Designate a “Mess-free” zone in your home that you can retreat to when the day, life, or home overwhelms you.  Perhaps it’s just that one corner in the family room, your bedroom, or downstairs. Maybe it’s your bathroom. Make this area your focal point to destress. A place where you can sit and look out a window, have soft lighting to relax and close the door to the rest of the world, if only for a few moments.  This Mess-free zone is where your decluttering and upkeep start.  This area needs to be maintained so you have a place to maintain your sanity and catch your breath.  Have a special blanket, cozy socks, pillow, or book in the space. Sometimes aroma therapy can help with a candle, plant, or diffuser. Can you turn on a bathroom fan, or listen to white or green noise on an app to block out the stress of the day? Open the window for fresh air or turn the blinds to get natural light.  Keep clothes, mail, and stuff picked up and out of this area. When the clutter is taking over – hurry! Retreat to your “Mess free” zone where self-care and a refreshing session can take place.

Set Time Boundaries

Set the clock. Pick a task that is causing you feelings of anxiety or stress and take the next 15 minutes to tackle it. Just start with any part of it.  If the timer goes off but you’re making progress- keep going.  If you struggled through the 15, reward yourself, acknowledge the progress you made and take a break. When the break is over, read this again…Set the clock…repeat.

Two professional organizers share their tips as well:

Keep decluttering – always work on minimizing the amount of things you have in your space. Manage your papers – pitch junk mail immediately.  “Don’t put it Down, Put it Away” – a few moments of effort now will make a lasting difference. Get the kids involved – Even at a young age kids can learn to take care of their toys by putting them away. Older kids are capable of helping with the general maintenance of the home.  Start with being clear about where things go so everyone knows the organization of the home. Turn on some music and see how much they can get picked up by the end of the song. Then offer a break and a reward when the work is done.

If your life ever feels cluttered as a result of an unexpected pregnancy, adjusting to motherhood, or just because – reach out to Birthright St. Charles. We have master-level professional counselors ready to help you create a plan to clear space for your well-being and it is free.

Gaining a sense of accomplishment and creating a space or environment that appears organized and settled can help bring a sense of calm and security to our sometimes cluttered lives.  Remember to take time for yourself, keep the perspective that a small step of change can make a big difference and know, at the end of the day, your home could just be well lived in and loved.

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