Relieve Stress And Anxiety Through Decluttering

by Jane Ashley

According to numerous studies, clutter is a leading cause of stress, anxiety, and feeling helpless and overwhelmed. When we are in the midst of cancer treatment, we’re fatigued and are often unable to perform routine household chores.

Get Rid Of Stress

So now amid the coronavirus pandemic, we’re probably not going to have visitors. If our spouse is working outside the home, they’ll probably be at home too. So it’s an excellent time to tackle some decluttering chores. Many of these ideas are simple things that we can do sitting down while we’re watching TV.

You might want to invest in a heavy-duty shredder (less than $100) because a shredder will come in handy with some of these decluttering ideas.

Why does clutter cause stress?

According to Psychology Today, there are several reasons.

1. Clutter bombards us with excessive stimulation – the visual and emotional mental clutter of stuff everywhere.
2. Clutter causes guilt because we feel inadequate since we can’t stay organized.
3. Clutter causes embarrassment because we don’t want our visitors to see our mess.
4. Clutter makes it difficult for us to relax because we feel guilty, sitting down when we should be doing something about our clutter.
5. Clutter causes frustration because we can’t find documents or things we need.

So now we know — instead of being bored to death while we are staying at home, we can begin to feel good amidst the coronavirus stress by doing simple little things that will add up over the next few weeks.

Let’s get started with Decluttering 101.

Get started by ensuring that you’ve got some extra boxes and some large garbage bags. If you’re going to tackle old paperwork and financial records, invest in a shredder (order online if you aren’t going out of the house).

Boxes and plastic bags are essential to this project – shred any document that contains personal information. Donate clothing you no longer wear because someone else may need your size — you can usually drop off your donations without getting out of your car at the Salvation 

Your Desk

Army or Goodwill.

Things made of paper:
• Old magazines
• Old books – you might put them in a box and donate Goodwill or the Salvation Army
• Take-out menus
• Old mail
• Old user manuals for the equipment you no longer have
• Old receipts
• Old paperwork
• Old greeting cards, except for the ones of “extreme” sentimental value
• Out-of-date coupons

Makeup and personal care items:
• Old makeup
• Old, dried up nail polish
• Old perfume
• Old makeup brushes
• Expired over-the-counter pills and ointments

Games, puzzles, and movies:
• Movies you never watch
• Movies that are damaged
• Games with missing pieces
• Puzzles with missing pieces
• Games you never play

Comfortable Clothing

• Socks that don’t have a match
• Socks with holes
• Underwear with holes
• Clothes that don’t fit – donate those
• Clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year – except for formal attire
• Earrings without a match
• Ties with stains
• Belts that are too large or too small
• Old purses – donate if they are in good condition
• Old caps and gloves
• Old shoes and sneakers

Bathroom and bedroom:
• Towels with holes – donate to the local animal shelter
• Old sheets
• Old toothbrushes
• Blankets with holes
• Threadbare wash clothes and towels
• Burned out fragrance candle jars
• Almost empty bathroom cleaning products
• Old electric blankets that you no longer use

• Old appliance cords for appliances you no longer own
• Almost empty bottles in the refrigerator or pantry
• Expired foods, including flour and cake mixes
• Restaurant sauce packet and sugar packets
• Coffee mugs that are cracked or chipped
• Old plastic containers like sour cream containers and whipped topping containers
• Glass jars you thought you might need for storage
• Beat up pots, pans, and lids
• Small electric appliances you never use – donate these


Storage shed:

• Tools that won’t hold a charge
• Broken lawn and garden tools
• Excessive nails, screws, and other fasteners
• Lawnmowers and other lawn equipment that can’t be repaired
• Old work gloves
• Screwdrivers and other metal tools that have excessive rust
• Old tarps with tears and holes

Don’t get overwhelmed!

Don’t stay glued to your televisions watching coronavirus news. Watching stressful news adds to our already high stress levels as cancer patients and survivors. We know the precautions. There is something about decluttering that helps. It helps us regain control over the chaos that surrounds us — I’ve taken one draw or cabinet at a time and just slowly “nicked” away at the stuff. I’ve sat on the carpet and gone through some photo albums. And at the end of the day, I felt better. I felt more in control because I had focused on a problem that I could solve.

One day at the time — that’s all that we can do, so we might as well do something that will help us feel better.

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