Clutter making you crazy? Here are ways to organize your life and ease some anxiety
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — As children head back to school, many parents are preparing to get back into the swing of the fall routine.
With that often comes a need for organization, which can lead to improved mental health.
- Decluttering a home can help decrease stress and anxiety, according a Lehigh Valley psychologist and professional organizer
- Start small, donate and have a goal
- Go with the flow and don't let organization overwhelm
"Having an organized home can bring a peace of mind, especially for those that tend to have a running to-do list of things they would like to accomplish,” psychologist Hillary Ammon said.
Ammon is the founder of the Center for Anxiety and Women's Emotional Wellness in Allentown.
“It can also provide a sense of control, which can be comforting, particularly if there are other situations that are taking place that are out of one’s control.”
Ammon said people often feel more anxious around big events, such as back to school or holidays.
"While organization is helpful, also remember to go with the flow of unexpected situations.”Psychologist Hillary Ammon
“Getting organized can often give some sense of control related to the upcoming event," she said. "This can be helpful in easing these feelings, as you may feel more prepared.”
However, Ammon warns people to be aware and not let the cleaning consume them.
“I would caution to be mindful of how much you are planning and organizing and being mindful if these strategies are becoming all-consuming as a way to relieve worry," she said.
"While organization is helpful, also remember to go with the flow of unexpected situations.”
Peace of mind
With that in mind, there are ways to get the home more organized and give people more peace of mind.
“Clearing out clutter tends to be the easiest way to kind of start decreasing the anxiety levels."Jennifer Bastidas, Owner, This Organized Home
“Clearing out clutter tends to be the easiest way to kind of start decreasing the anxiety levels that our clients have. It helps to increase focus, especially in office spaces,” said professional organizer Jennifer Bastidas.
She is the owner of This Organized Home in Bethlehem.
Bastidas said this time of year, many people reach out to her to try and get organized to bring down the stress level.
“Especially going back to school, so trying to focus in even if it's just in their bedroom spaces," she said. "Doing work zone areas, so that they can focus on homework if it's in the bedroom, but then also be able to have a play space there and a way to decompress.”
Bastidas said her advice is to start small when decluttering, donate unwanted or unused items, and put a system in place that works for the family.
“Trying to focus in, even if it's just in their bedroom spaces, doing work zone areas, so that they can focus on homework if it's in the bedroom," she said. "But then also be able to have a play space there and a way to decompress.
Setting a goal
Bastidas said setting a goal can help people stay focused when organizing their homes.
“Once it kind of starts going, I feel like people are able to see that and open that one cabinet and say, ‘Oh it's so pretty,’ and we want to do that to other areas of your home.”
"It’s important to strike a balance, being flexible in your organizational patterns... While routines are important, it’s also okay to be flexible with those routines occasionally.”Psychologist Hillary Ammon
Bastidas also said the process doesn't have to be a pricey one.
“Shop your home first see if you can find some things or baskets that you're not using, utilize a pickle jar, whatever it may be, you can put a cute label on it," she said.
"And you can really get inspiration from things that you've seen in magazines or on TV, but don't be scared to just start in a small space and kind of you know, allow yourself to be creative and branch out.”
For those looking to focus on organizing and decluttering this fall, Ammon concluded with one piece of advice.
"It’s important to strike a balance, being flexible in your organizational patterns," she said. "While routines are important, it’s also okay to be flexible with those routines occasionally.”