• Anxiety NZ Trust

Clearing the space and the mind

Welcome to our Youth Talk Blog, a section dedicated to youth lived-experiences with mental health and wellbeing, with weekly blog posts from diverse young people’s perspectives. This is a positive, fun and resourceful space, showcasing young people thriving and connecting with healthful activities, resources and support. This post has been written by Jess, our Community Education intern, who is a 22-year-old psychology student.


I have recently been made aware from one close friend in particular of my hoarding tendencies. One day she approached me saying “Can I please go through your wardrobe with you and help you organise it?” At first, I found this funny, but then began to realise how much stuff I have that I never use. And everything new I buy just adds on to an endless pile. I then saw her point that perhaps I was due for a clear out.



However, this started to make me feel a little anxious and I found myself putting it off more and more. The thought of someone else being present to move my belongings around or perhaps provide pressure to get rid of some items stressed me out. This made me realise I am the type of person who likes my things in a specific way.


My friend offering to help me organise things is a very understanding, kind person, so she’s really is the most ideal partner to undergo this task with. With a little more persuasion and consistent reminding, I agreed for her to help me organise and go through things I had that I no longer used or needed. It was a fun activity to do with my friend as well as me finding it quite therapeutic. My friend is a very organised and tidy person so she naturally received satisfaction and accomplishment from doing this also. I found when doing this a new sense of fresh beginnings. And looking through my belongings afterwards I felt a literal weight lift from my shoulders, as well as appreciating more room I had and how tidy everything looked now.


Being messy and unorganised can serve as a huge predisposition to and perpetuator of stress. If more people saw being organised as less of a chore and more as a value along the lines of loyalty and honesty, it could lead to less busy and definitely less stressful lives for them. Being organised has advantages: It can make space for your mind to think of other things rather than the mess surrounding you, it also provides time and space and enhances productivity to do what one needs to get done. Not to mention being organised and tidy in your room means you know where to look for specific things. I found that before, I would be surprised to find a forgotten item of clothing, and rediscovering it made me feel like I was getting new clothes almost. I’ve also found having a clear space clears my mind and makes it easier for me to have a good mind space to do things such as work on university assignments at my desk.


Decluttering and cleaning/organising can also be energising. When you make a series of decisions, you can put yourself in a ‘getting jobs done’ mode. Once you start decluttering, you may find that you have more energy to get other things done, which is very productive. When I was going through my belongings, I had huge motivation to get this all completed. Often, tasks like cleaning, organising, and decluttering can give us a sense of mastery or accomplishment, which can improve our mental health.


According to a study, having multiple visual stimuli (e.g. surrounding clutter) means the more chances of the person feeling distracted. Having a clear space for yourself can be seen as another form of self-care. It can give you a sense of feeling clean and helps keeping one's thoughts organised as well. This can also minimise distractions and therefore procrastination and enhance motivation. I hope this can inspire others to also declutter, and receive the benefits of this task, and even possibly provide some fresh starts.



References and resources


https://organizedmindandlife.com/benefits-of-being-organized/

https://dresseduprustic.com/benefits-organized-home/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/in-practice/201802/6-benefits-uncluttered-space

https://www.headspace.com/articles/clear-space-really-mean-clear-mind

https://www.blueosa.com/a-challenge-from-a-yogi-to-you-a-clean-space-promotes-a-clean-mind-2/

https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/healthy-living/h/hoarding-how-to-help-a-hoarder/

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