If you are experiencing a bout of depression or suffer from a chronic mental illness, everyday tasks such as cleaning your bedroom can feel like an overwhelming burden. Symptoms of depression, for instance, include hopelessness and lack of concentration — and these feelings can manifest into disorganization. 

Those who have a mental illness may feel shame or embarrassment because of their unclean room, but clutter is not uncommon. Studies show that 54 percent of Americans are overwhelmed by the clutter they have accumulated. Despite the toll it may be taking on your mental health, it’s possible you may perceive clutter as a security blanket. However, the more you adapt to mess, the harder it is to manage it. Your environment influences your mental health, so you must create one you can thrive in.

Beverly Clemons Snowden, a licensed marriage and family therapist, describes the mental health effects that come with keeping a cluttered space. “Clutter can cause your amygdala to be overstimulated, which can result in you feeling unable to complete simple tasks,” she says. “An unkempt room will overwhelm you and heighten your anxiety, leading you to believe you have no control.”

Using your bed to store the laundry you refuse to fold may seem like a good idea until it is time to sleep. Utilizing your desk for everything except a workspace seems convenient until it is time to wor and you have no space. You may retreat home after a long day only to realize you do not have a free space to relax. The clutter you are avoiding will eventually open the door for a bigger mess. 

“You can start by making a to-do list so you can check off completed tasks,” said Clemons Snowden. “This can increase your serotonin levels, which can help you stay motivated.”

Detaching yourself from the chaos you have accumulated for so long may be an emotional process, so do not be afraid to utilize outside resources. 

Shelina Jokhiya, a professional organizer and founder of Decluttr Me, is committed to giving her clients a fresh start through her program. “Organization helps to remove the clutter cloud off someone’s life,” Jokhiya says. “Clients declutter with me and physically feel and look lighter after.”

If you’re looking to make a fresh start by getting rid of unwanted clutter, Jokhiya offers three smart tips for getting started.

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