You’ve seen documentaries on hoarding, or TV shows like Clean House, Animal Hoarding, and Hoarders, right? You may even have seen the newest (and inspirational) decluttering sensation Marie Kondo speaking through her interpreter to California’s buried citizens. Tidying Up… is a little different from the others, a little more hopeful. Regardless of the various approaches to filming a big declutter overhaul, hoarders and clutterbugs share commonalities. For one thing, they often have some sort of mental health issue such as PTSD, depression, OCD, ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more, if not some combination of these; however, Hoarding Disorder (HD) is now an official, diagnosable disorder on its own.
Declutter Decoding: Which Came First, the Mental Disorder or the Clutter?
The answer to the riddle depends on the person you’re asking.
While some mental health disorders or other ailments can cause brain fog, confusion, or lethargy that contributes to the creation of a messy house, a messy home can ALSO cause these symptoms. They really reinforce each other. One makes it hard to keep things neat and organized, or difficult to let go of sentimental items.
Just Because You’re Not a Hoarder…Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Declutter
Clutter is a problem. It creates safety, health, and fire hazards in addition to mental health damage. Just because you’re not saving all of what you’re using in five gallon containers (it really happens), doesn’t mean you don’t have an issue to address. Declutter it anyway and feel the breath come back in your lungs as you see the new breath in your room!
Causes of Clutter
There are homes that look very much like the homes of people with Hoarding Disorder, and these can belong to people suffering from OCD, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and dementia. Physical ailments can also make a normally neat person go off track. Although it’s not technically hoarding, it still needs to be handled. Get decluttered, get diagnosed, get treatment, and get your life back!
Clutter overwhelms, but it’s also the sign of an overwhelmed psyche. If you find yourself in an overwhelming situation, get help. A helper will give you clarity and direction that you’re not able to have as the owner of the situation.
Effects of declutter on the Brain
Clutter damages your brain. No, really! Even if you’re just having a tough time lately, removed a few months ago, etc., the longer you let the clutter sit, the harder it will be to declutter it later.
The disorganized mess of a cluttered home leads to stress and depression. It is exhausting to wake up in a messy room, or to return home to a messy home. This chronic stress will negative impact the brain – and not just over time. Even temporary chaos releases damaging stress hormones that make it hard to sleep, regulate weight, and energy levels.
Deep, long-lasting depression will make you feel as if you can’t get out of bed. You are sapped of energy, sapped of interest, and have lost drive. This is the deepest sort of depression – the kind that affects job performance and relationships in a profound way. Someone suffering from this level of depression has a very hard time getting out of bed, dressing, showering, and taking care of bills. It is exhausting to speak with people, difficult to form clear thoughts, and just plain difficult to take care of oneself. You will need help from someone you trust just to make the phone calls and fill out paperwork to get things going if you are suffering from this level of depression. Your first priority is getting immediate help for it.
Are you in denial? How to tell.
- You compare your mess to others. You may think, “Well, I clean, my house isn’t stinky, I just have a lot of stuff.” First of all, your house probably does stink – you’re just used to it. Pay attention to the way that your home smells after you’ve been gone a day or two. Secondly, just because you’re not living in abject squalor doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem.
- You reassure yourself that you’ll get to it “soon.” How long has that project been half-finished? Do you wince when you walk by a particular pile of laundry or craft items?
- You rationalize. If you find yourself explaining why an item is useful or important, and the other person just can’t see it, he or she might have a point.
- You find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your home. Homes should not be consistently overwhelming.
Putting the declutter clean-out off will only make things worse.
You will never feel like it’s the perfect time to do this, because the task grows every day, especially if you keep accumulating new stuff. It will never be easy, but asking for help gets easier every time you do it! An army of professionals is waiting to help you with therapy, junk hauling, professional organization, and anything else that you may need. Your loved ones are likely willing to help as well.
Just remember that this mess you’re in – literally and figuratively – didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be resolved overnight, either.
Need to jumpstart your declutter clean-out?
West Coast Junk is available to customers in and around Dublin, CA, the San Francisco area all the way to San Jose. We handle hoarding clean-outs, whole house, construction, and more.