Wellbeing / Wellness

Is there a psychological reason why you can’t seem to clean up?

Some of us love our spaces squeaky clean and perfectly arranged. Others thrive on a state of organised chaos. But then there are some that live in a state of clutter who can't seem to cut through their mess.

Most of us will have experienced the latter at least once in our lives. Sitting in a messy room, wondering how you let it get like this and why you can't seem to shift the clutter that is closing in on you. Well, as it turns out, there is likely a psychological reason as to why you can't seem to be able to clean up.

We spoke to Noosha Anzab, a clinical psychotherapist & psychologist at Lysn - a service connecting people with mental health professionals online.  She explains "put simply, a messy house can make for a chaotic mind", how cleaning up can help you and small steps you can take, if when it feels like you don't have the energy.



Is there a psychological reason as to why some of us feel unable to clean up, or are always living in mess?

Yes, unfortunately it can be a bit of vicious cycle. If you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed or if your mind is feeling unorganised, you’re likely not going to have the energy in the first place. The mess could be causing you to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start! Then you could be having a bad sleep, waking up tired and doing the same process over and over again.


Is this something that's common for people who are burnt out?

Absolutely. We all know the feeling when you come home from a long day and the last thing you feel like doing is cleaning or tidying up. Then imagine this feeling being compounded when someone is completely burnt out. In these cases, it is worthwhile looking into ways that you could delegate tasks or perhaps even hire help to get your place clean and get your mind into a better routine.


What are some steps we can take to help declutter, even if it feels impossible?

The new year is a great time to re-assess everything in our lives, including our homes. What many people don’t realise is that our homes can have a dramatic effect on the way that we feel – from colour psychology through to the feelings that different lighting can induce. Use this time to look at your home and consider the ways it can have a positive effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. The best way to approach it is to start off small and make a list. Try putting one small thing on your diary that you ‘must do’ and break any bigger tasks up into small ones. That way the task of cleaning or de-cluttering your entire home doesn’t feel overwhelming.


What advice would you give to someone living in a state of clutter?

Firstly, don’t be hard on yourself. Try not to let it overwhelm or disappoint you, instead take the small steps to make some changes. Perhaps it’s starting off with one drawer and slowly working your way through the entire house. Notice the sense of achievement you might feel and how the organisation might have a positive effect on your mind. Remind yourself that these small adjustments can have a huge on-flow effect on your entire life.


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