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The Importance of Decluttering Your Physical and Mental Spaces

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

It’s easy for clutter to build up in our lives, whether it’s a pile of clothes in the corner of our room or the ever-growing mental checklist of loose ends to tie. Life simply gets busy – no one can blame anyone for maybe leaving a couple of dishes in the sink or forgetting to text someone back. However, nothing screams “fresh start” for the new school year as much as a clean room and a clear mind. Even as overwhelming as your day-to-day may get, give yourself a moment to unpack, unwind and unburden. 

The act of cleaning itself can not only be a therapeutic way to spend your time, but the aftermath has been proven beneficial for symptoms of anxiety and depression. There is positive psychology behind organization, and the research shows that a relaxing, decluttered home can mitigate the stressors of the day. 

Emotional stability is a fickle thing and sometimes all it takes is a haphazard room to feel overwhelmed. To take care of your future self, don’t leave messes for her to tend to. For me, it’s difficult to feel like I have enough room to breathe if I see all my things everywhere. I used to be (and occasionally still am) the type of person who pulls everything out of their closet before picking an outfit, then neglects a pile of clothes on my bed instead of putting it away. When I’d come back home, tired from a bad day at school or work, that pile would be my last straw. 

When you look at cleaning as self-care instead of a chore, it can actually be something enjoyable. You are decluttering your physical environment so that you have an open space to live and function. Slowly but surely, crossing one thing off the cleaning checklist at a time will alleviate the anxiety you may be holding inside of you and allow you to take a deep breath. 

When the problem isn’t your messy apartment, it’s time to look a little more introspectively. As social beings, we are the product of the energy around us, which is why it’s so important to manage our relationships and only hold onto the healthy ones. A hard lesson to learn is how to distinguish between a fruitful, meaningful relationship and one that is simply convenient. Doing so, though, is the first step to cutting off the people who are not benefitting your life and allowing yourself to meet new people who will. 

Decluttering your mind also means some internal soul-searching. While your friends have a big impact on you, you are your greatest influence. Learning how to resolve grudges you may be holding against yourself, using gentle language when speaking to yourself and giving yourself room to make mistakes are some ways to nurture intrapersonal relationships and let go of any negativity weighing down on you. 

The start of the school year is a great time to unpack any emotional baggage (as well as literal baggage) that’s been taking up unnecessary space in your life. It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but by making small changes and building good habits, regularly decluttering and regulating what gets to take up space in your life can improve your daily moods. By taking the time to organize the small stuff, you can refocus your energy on the people and things that matter most. 

Audrie is a fourth-year student from Honolulu, Hawaii, majoring in Human Biology Society and minoring in Anthropology. Her favorite things to talk about are self-care, brunch, and her cat. She also really loves the beach and anything matcha flavored! In her free time, you can catch her shopping for records, books, and Trader Joe's snacks.