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Did you know that studies prove that Clutter & Depression go hand in hand?

When clutter is weighing you down with the toys in the living room, beds unmade, and dishes left in the sink… these things make us feel mentally cluttered.   It makes our homes look messy and it makes our emotions feel messy.

A woman leaning on a counter with her hands folded in front of her.

This newly updated post was originally published in 2017.  

Clutter & Depression are linked

In the book Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century   (This book was based on a rigorous, nine-year project at UCLA where middle-aged Americans are studied, watching how they use the space & things in their home), it states that clutter affects our mood.

I couldn’t agree more.

It affects our mood and how we feel about ourselves.   This clutter, which is mostly things that we don’t even use, is weighing us down.

In the book, they found that there is a connection between the objects in the house & the stress hormone levels.  More Clutter =  More Stress.   (Women were far more stressed by it than men).

Why?  Women are judging themselves and others on the cleanliness of their homes.   In their minds, a clean home meant a happy home.   It made them feel accomplished and put together to have a well-maintained clean home.

When we start to have too much stuff, it can really put a weight on us.  An emotional weight, but still a weight.  It makes us feel like we have a never-ending list of things to do.
A woman leaning on a kitchen counter with clutter around her as she holds her head in her hands.

It makes us feel frazzled and in disarray.  It makes our tempers high and our patience low.

Do you find yourself reprimanding your kids for not cleaning up?  Or for no reason at all?

It is because you are overwhelmed by the mess of it all, but having too much stuff.

Do you know who feels our stress the most?  Our kids. (It’s proven)

Why Does Clutter Make Us Stressed?

If you are thinking about how your house is cluttered… this is the time that you aren’t spending LIVING YOUR LIFE.    Once you are able to free yourself from the burden of these extra physical things, the ones that seem to tie us down, we can let them go and have more time to spend enjoying life.

Your home is where you should go to relax.   You can walk into a clean, fresh, sunlit home.  You can walk into a home that welcomes you and invites you to feel joyful, renewed, and calm.

We are going to get there.
You can start by decluttering your home.


What Can You Do About Clutter & Stress?

If you feel like your clutter is causing you stress, what are you going to do about it?

You need to get organized.   I have a declutter course that talks about how to declutter, clean & organize your home because I wholeheartedly believe that being organized saves my sanity.  I’ve realized that you can not organize clutter.  You have got to just get rid of it.

Did you know that over the course of our lives, we will spend an average of 3,680 hours (153 days) searching for misplaced items?  This study found we lose around nine items every day (which ends up being 198,743 items over the course of our lives.)

The items on the top of the list are keys, phones, glasses, and papers.  – Research & numbers come from The Daily Mail

You probably have too much stuff.  Most of us do.

You can take a Declutter Course (clear your home of clutter with the support of others!)  It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and thankfully it’s a way that others are able to declutter their homes, as well.

Why do people have SO much stuff in their homes?   There are usually four reasons:

1- Sentiment:  We don’t want to get rid of it and risk hurting someone’s feelings.

2- Fear Of Needing It: What if we want it ONE day?   Will it come back into style?  What if I want to make that fancy meal with that fancy appliance?

3- We have ‘backups’.   I literally had two crock-pots for about three years.   I had five cookie sheets… which was more than was even able to fit into the oven at one time.   Why?  It was my backup.

4. Aesthetics:  We keep things to make our house look “beautiful” but we end up keeping more than we actually want (and it makes us feel worse because it clutters our homes.)


Here are three options to get you started…

1-  Join Our Free the 30-day Declutter Challenge. (Print the calendar to help you stay on track!) 

30 Day Declutter Calendar

2- Print these Two Free Cleaning Schedule sheets.
Cleaning and Family cleaning schedule to print for free

3. Jump in with both feet & declutter the entire house with the Whole-House Declutter Course.  You will declutter & organize your ENTIRE whole home with my help.   It starts today, so join soon!

You Can’t Organize Clutter

No matter which option you pick, remember that you can’t just push your clutter under the rug.  You’ve got to get rid of that clutter and there is no time like the present!

Don’t be afraid to let go of things in your home… they are just things.   The people in your life matter more and when you get rid of the things in your home, you gain time.

You will stop looking for things, stop spending hours cleaning things and stop organizing by just moving things around, only to have to look for them later.  Decluttering & organizing will save you so much time and you can finally spend that time on the things that really matter to you.

A close up of text on a white background

1). This is how you can learn to LET GO of Clutter.  

let go of clutter

2- Get everyone involved. Check out some chores for kids, by their age. 
chores by age

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Yes, yes, yes! This makes so much sense. You cannot organise clutter, you have to get rid of it. Thank you, I’m with you on this one. I will be waiting for tomorrow’s post and will be acting on it. I’m tired of my clutter.

    1. Susan – I was there a week ago, so I hear you! I’m glad that this will help you. 🙂

      1. I wish I could declutter, but my house is to far gone and I have really just given up. It’s hard for me to do anything now cause I have COPD. My clutter definitely doesn’t help my depression or anxiety. Ugh! 🙁

        1. Just do one small bit at a time. I’ve been in that place where you don’t even know where to start and over several years…I’ve truly done it. Don’t give up!

        2. Kathleen, I understand the overwhelming feeling of clutter. I do not have COPD, but I’m wondering if you can start with 1 thing. Just 1. 1 pile, 1 box, 1 bag, just 1 of something. I know it’s going to be a lot of work. It didn’t get that way in one day. Once I do 1 pile it fills my sense of accomplishment. It inspires me to do more. Don’t give up. You can do 1 thing, then another 1 thing. I have not seen this course, but my recommendation is to work on 1 room. The one that will be the easiest. That gets the momentum going. Clean a square foot area, then a 2 foot square area, then the top of a cabinet it table. Can’t you just see it going away?! Just start with 1. My bet wishes go out to you. You can do it!

        3. I was at that point before. I had a Cleaning Party and afterward, gave everyone a night out on me, or home cooked meal (I gave them a choice). They did the work and I just told them where things needed to go. 4 hours and I had everything (including my bedroom) cleaned and organized.

          1. Do small increments at a time.
            Get two trash bags. Start in a room any room. Fill one with trash and one with items to donate.

            Do this once a week and you will chip it away before you know it.

            If you feel up to doing more do more. It’s a very liberating and wonderful feeling.

        4. Why not ask a friend, church member, or someone to help you a little at a time. You can sit and say , please donate these books, give this stuff to good will etc. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Why not try once a week just work on a small corner or closet, etc.
          Take care and just breath!

        5. Kathleen Bailey – you start with the room you spend the most time in. Pick one corner in that room & work on that corner until completely done, then move to next corner, etc,etc,etc. It may take 3 months for one corner but you will be proud & feel fulfilled. It will spur you on to do the next corner. Good luck! (And ask for help if you need too!)

        6. Never give up, it is never too late! I found it easier to spend 15 minutes in each room, just long enough to see a small improvement and not get overwhelmed by wondering how to tackle the whole room from start to finish. Just walk in a room, spend 15 minutes working and go to another one. I got more done that way, because I wasn’t spending time looking around and feeling doomed and closed in. By accomplishing a little, it motivated me to do more next time around!

          1. Downsizing at 63 …same old thing…way too much stuff…I am over it…and yes pacing yourself helps curb the overwhelming feeling of omg

            1. Downsizing at 61 ….I don’t want my daughter to have to get rid of this junk! Plus I have a goal to move within 2 years to move out of state! Keep decluttering!

        7. Saying goes
          How do you eat an elephant?
          One bite at a time

          If you start with only the things lying on top and gradually work through them first. Soon, you will feel the accomplishment and that rolls into more ambition for the other rooms and soon snowballs into good things.

    2. I am a man of 60 years of age. 15 years ago my divorce was final and I came home to an empty home where the only stuff left was trash and memorabilia omily of here daughters and 17 years. The depresson was slow but the clurewwith it. I found it hard to leave the house let alone keep it clean and manageable. I let no one vivt and became recluse in my clutter. Seeing it and living in it made the wall I was building taller and stronger. I tired many avenues available to me in hope of finding help for m depression. I hired a friend boys to clear out my garage and it was hard but I said take it all I want to see nothing but floor and walls. I cried, I hid and when they were done it was a relief that was unusual. It did feel good. I began to go to my mailbox regularly and look into my garage. I found enough courage to go to a mortgage company and after a year of getting me back in the credit game I refinanced. Well, long story short I have but one large pile of house stuff and a new living room floor. The clutter is down. I have two rooms with nothing but beds, shelves and emptiness. I painted and I took much to thrift store and gave away much. I love the way my house is becoming lighter both visually and stuff wise. Depression is still there but I can see it and not allow it to run my life. I have some control and enjoy the freedom.

      1. Keep up the great work. I find the more unneeded things that I get rid of, the happier that I feel. Best wishes to you. 🙂

    1. Day 2 is up, but day 3 will be tomorrow. 🙂 I’m glad you found it helpful!

  2. You are so right – you cannot organize clutter. It just needs to go. It’s the “what if’s” that keep clutter in our lives. Visiting from SITS. Have a great Sunday.

  3. I am an organizing blogger too, but right now I’d be terribly embarrassed for someone to see my home and how cluttered it is. When you get busy, it is easy for the clutter to just keep up on you. I was packing for a camping trip this weekend and while I was digging around to find our sleeping bags and other items, it was surprising how much clutter I was tripping over. Time to set up a Saturday and have a big “attack the clutter” party. I’m sure I can get at least 5 or 6 bags of stuff out of my house! #SITSSharefest

    1. Good luck, Adrian! Isn’t is shocking how quickly it builds up?!

    2. check out BUY NOTHING,, it is world wide and a life saver,, declutter and feel great about it,,

  4. God made decluttering easy for us: we moved twice, had two floods, and are moving to Nepal. 🙂 I cannot tell you how much I wish I had gone through this process five years ago. The freedom of less stuff is so, so worth the effort.

    1. 🙂 lol. Yes, HE did! HE knows what we need, right? 🙂

  5. I totally agree!

    I know I have too much stuff and always try to get rid of a thing or two. (Throwing away one or two things often seam to work better for me that throwing a whole lot away at once)

    1. 🙂 exactly! Just a little at at time makes such a huge difference in the long run!

    2. donate…..don’t throw it out if it is something someone can use……

    3. It makes me feel better grtting rid of useful stuff,if I know I don’t have to throw it away, but can donate it. This way someone canuse it and I am not filling the garbage dump.

  6. Thank you so much for this! I really needed this today. 🙂

    Visiting from ABFOL!

  7. Great encouragement to do the hard thing that we all tend to put off, but desperately NEED to do. 🙂 Thank you for posting this.

  8. I randomly clicked on two images that “spoke to me” at the link party and both times I landed at your blog!!

    Wow, God does speak in amazing ways. Rirst it was at your post of teaching children to stop looking everywhere and look up and that was a direct message to me.

    Secondly, of late He has been speaking to me about clutter and I must now schedule time not to try and organize clutter but to get rid of it.

    Thank you for being faithful to your calling.

    1. OH- I”m so glad for that. He certainly knows exactly what we need. I’m so glad to have you here!

  9. Love your line, “YOU CAN NOT ORGANIZE CLUTTER – YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF IT.” Amen, sister! I recently “switched gears” (not opening a retail store I had hoped to), so I have a lot of extra stuff I won’t be needing. Sure, I love all of it…but wanting to keep it and having the space to keep it are two very different things. Time to do some sorting and selling. I’ll be watching your series with great interest. 🙂

  10. Love this! Thanks for posting! I’m about to undergo a September purge – I want to get rid of 50 things!

    Stopping by from army wife to suburban life linkup!

  11. Great point – you can’t organize clutter!! We bought a new house recently. As I have been unpacking I’m realizing that some of the stuff I was saving for “someday” I probably won’t ever really use. Clutter is stressful, and trying to organize it is overwhelming. Thank you, the timing of this is perfect 🙂

  12. Might not be the newest post but totally worth showing on the sayg’day link party. Reminded me of the need to dump not just move around. Fran @ travelgenee