For many of us, recovery means we are starting our lives over. We may have lost some of our agency over what we did, how we behaved, where we lived, and who we shared our lives with. With this loss of control, we may have lacked any sense of stability. Without consciously realizing it, our minds may feel like a mess and hinder us from making progress. Fortunately, we can start to reorganize our minds by reorganizing the simpler things in our life, like our living space.
Home Organization and Mental Health
When we think about stress and anxiety, we may think about the inner workings of our brains and the connection between our negative thoughts and feelings. We may not always stop and think about what monotonous tasks are causing us to feel this way. When our environment is in chaos, it is challenging to feel stable, collected, and productive even if we don’t have anxiety.
One easy way to achieve a sense of stability is through the organization of our homes. Our minds are always trying to make sense of what we are looking at. We organize information in our brains and sort out what we encounter every day. When our homes are full of clutter, our brains can struggle to make sense of it, and they may become too overworked to focus on other tasks.
Taking the time to organize the spaces in our homes can decrease this clutter and give our minds the energy to focus on our goals. Seeing the difference that cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing make in our living spaces can make us feel productive and remind us of the impact our actions can have. This is another way that home organization can positively affect our mental health.
Where to Start
As with many things in life, talking about organizing our homes is much easier said than done. It can feel overwhelming to “dive in,” and we all need a starting point. We can start in isolated areas and then continue to move on as we complete each area.
Maybe we can go through everything on our nightstands and take inventory of what we do and do not need. After we have established what is going and what is staying, we can organize what we are keeping. It can feel refreshing and even freeing to clear up space in our home; as a result, we may feel as though we have cleared up space in our minds.
What We Don’t Need
When cleaning and organizing our homes, we may come across various items that we don’t wish to keep anymore, but what do we do with them? There are many ways to responsibly repurpose the items we no longer need.
Many local nonprofits are always taking clothing donations. It gives our clothing a second chance at life, just as we have after treatment. Donating used clothing and other items is a great way to give back to the community while creating a de-cluttered space for us to physically and mentally live. We can also recycle many items like old notebooks and shoe boxes that may still be lying around.
Creating Space for New Opportunities
Organizing our home provides a sense of confidence. We can take control of our belongings and decide what we still need and what we are okay without. This gives us many chances to make our own choices, and this exercise of agency can carry over into other aspects of our lives. We can start to feel confident about making decisions about what hobbies we enjoy, who we like to spend our time with, and what our goals are in life.
Struggling with substance abuse may have taken many choices away from us. Being able to regain our sense of self can help us succeed in our lives personally and professionally. The new physical space we have created in our homes can provide us with the chance for us to think about new opportunities and possibilities in our lives. Home organization is much more than cleaning; it is about setting ourselves up for success.
Setting a Good Example
Those of us who have kids, nieces, nephews, or younger siblings can set a great example by showing them how to clean and organize. By de-cluttering our homes and keeping them clean, we can show them the importance of structure and consistency. Cleaning together can be a great way to build or strengthen a bond with these people in our lives. We can lead by example and encourage others to do the same with their home spaces.
Doing Our Part
A part of organizing our homes is donating what we don’t need anymore. This can open the door for us to serve our local communities. Along with donating, we may find it fulfilling to volunteer with different organizations.
When we feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves for the greater good, we can gain even more self-confidence. There are many resources in the world to ensure that everyone is taken care of, and if we can all do our part to share what we can, everyone can benefit.
Organizing our homes can help us after treatment for substance abuse. It can be a way to develop or regain the confidence to make choices on our own. When we clear up physical space for ourselves to live, we can give ourselves mental space to think about what we want in our lives. We may be experiencing stress and anxiety and not realize how much of that is coming from the disorder in our living spaces. Maybe we did not know how much clutter negatively affects our mental health. We can lead by example and donate what we no longer need to local nonprofits in our community. This could lead to us becoming involved with our community. Overall, clearing up the spaces in our homes where we spend time can lead to many positive results. To learn more about improving mental health, call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449.