Aiden turned 1 yesterday! I just can’t believe how fast a year has gone by. I feel so lucky to be this boy’s mama. There are definitely times where I wish I could be a better one, as all mamas do. Why do we get down on ourselves so much? From one mama to all you mamas out there, you’re doing so good. Let’s all stop beating ourselves up!
In this post, I wanted to explain why I think having a tidy home is so much more than making your house look presentable for guests. I don’t keep my house tidy for other people. We never have that many guests anyway.
I’ve never liked having a cluttered space. When I was younger, if I came home from with a load of homework and my room was messy, I couldn’t start my homework until everything was put away and my room was clean. At that time, I understood that there was a connection between my environment and surroundings and the quality of my thinking. This relationship continues to drive me today to keep my home as uncluttered as I possibly can.
Clutter Equals a Cluttered Mind
Cluttered spaces are overstimulating. When our brains take in too much sensory information, it makes it really difficult to focus on tasks. Have you ever tried to multitask and felt like you weren’t getting anything done? The same thing happens when we are surrounded by clutter. Our brains are master multitaskers on their own, but if we add too much unnecessary stimulus, it’s really hard to hone in on anything. People who are described to be “scatterbrained” or distracted likely have a lot of clutter that’s sending their mind into overload. They aren’t able to focus on important things.
Studies have shown that people with cluttered and hectic work desks have decreased job performance than people who maintain an organized work environment. I would add that my performance as a mom is not as great when there is clutter all over the place.
Clutter Makes us Feel Stressed and On Edge
When things start piling up in our house, I can feel it even before I see the mess. We are all more cranky, stressed out, and on the verge of losing our cool. I especially have a hard time when things are getting messy. I am sensitive to my environment. Arguably, oversensitive. Messes just make me feel yucky inside.
Nobody wants to spend their day cleaning messes and clutter off of every surface. If other people are making the messes, then it’s even more frustrating. Often, it leads to disharmony among the people in your home. Maybe you nag your husband and kids about leaving stuff on the table or stairs. Maybe you clean everyone’s messes but on the inside, you’re fuming and building up resentments. Clutter can just breed ugly feelings inside of us and leave us stressed to the point where we can’t handle it anymore.
Clutter Makes us Feel Overwhelmed
Have you ever felt like the clutter has just gotten out of control? Countless times, I’ve looked at my kitchen counters and felt like I’d rather shave my head bald then undertake the task of cleaning everything up.
The chaos that clutter creates can leave us feeling unsure of where to even start. And as we take the steps to clean up a mess, another one appears in the next room. It’s a never-ending cycle and we are forever cleaning and forever overwhelmed.
Clutter Makes us Feel Unmotivated
When we are overwhelmed by our surroundings and the task of cleaning, it is hard to be motivated.
I suffer from mild depression and anxiety at times. When I have bad days or weeks, it is much harder for me to find the motivation to do much of anything. Dishes might pile up and laundry sits in the basket for longer than I’m comfortable admitting. The sight of it all makes me feel even more overwhelmed and helpless.
As much as I can, and also trying not to be too stubborn to ask for help from my husband, I try to keep things tidy enough so I don’t spiral out of control. I share this personal struggle with you to illustrate that not only does our environment have an effect our mental well-being, but it can also be an indication that we need to address something else going on in our mental and emotional health.
Our environment has such an impact on our mental and emotional health. It takes some work to develop the habit of tidying. But it’s in our best interest to keep clutter at bay so we can think, feel, and be better. It certainly won’t fix every problem we may have, but it will help add a little peace to our homes. And maybe a little peace of mind as well. The less time we spend cleaning, the more we can spend taking care of ourselves and those around us.
How has clutter had an effect on you? Do you find any of these things to be true for you and your family?
On a personal note: If you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, or just having a hard time with life, I urge you to speak to someone about your feelings and seek professional help. Over the past year, I’ve learned that it’s so vital and there is no shame in admitting we need help asking for it. You’re definitely not alone, nor should you go through it all alone!