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What You Need To Know About Decluttering When You’re Depressed & Don’t Know Where To Start (How-To Guide)

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How Decluttering Is Life-Changing (Even If You’re Depressed & Don’t Know Where To Start)

You might be dreaming of living in a house that is like a refuge from the outside craziness in the world.

But when you look around your home, it seems like the crazy has seeped in there too.

There’s clutter everywhere and you are overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start.

And if you’re depressed, the thought of going through all of those things causes you even more despair.

I truly do feel for you and hope that this post today will encourage you to get started decluttering, even if the thought panics you or makes you feel hopeless.

If you can follow the eight steps that I’ve laid out for you in this post, you can be on your way to having the haven spa-like house of your dreams!

Oh yeah, and this post contains affiliate links to great products that will help you in your health journey. I will get a commission if you decide to buy from these links but I’m only recommending products that I feel confident about.


Benefits of decluttering

– Quicker and easier to clean your home

– Live in a less stressful environment

– Be able to find things quickly

– Have more space

– Gain clarity and a sense of control over your surroundings

– Reduce anxiety (Source)

– You will finally LOVE your home!

So how do you tackle what seems like an absolutely mammoth-sized task?

The same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

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how to declutter when you're depressed


What You Need To Know: This Decluttering Article May Not Help You

I’m going to ask you some questions that only you can answer because this is the thing…

For some people, decluttering is just about finding the time to do it.

They’ve accumulated all of this junk without realizing it.

Then when it dawns on them that their house has gotten out of control, they can gladly and easily chuck all of that unwanted stuff out of their house with no issue.

In other words, they don’t have an attachment to the stuff.

They just want it gone and need to carve out time in their day to make it happen.

But some people have an emotional and psychological connection to their clutter.

And if that’s the case, following the steps that I’m going to give you won’t be easy.

In fact, they may be impossible unless you get help from a professional, depending on the severity of the issue.

So my questions are…

  • Could you go to any part of your house and start throwing your clutter away without a second thought?
  • Or does the thought of doing that cause you emotional and mental pain? (Source)

If the answer is yes to the last question, then this article may not help.

But if the idea of clearing away the clutter doesn’t make you anxious but excites then please keep reading!


How To Declutter When Your Depressed & Don’t Know Where To Start


1)Make a plan so you’re not overwhelmed

Clearing away the clutter might seem overwhelming, especially if there is a lot of clutter to clear.

But don’t worry.

The best way to start is with the room that you spend most of your time in.

Is that the kitchen?

Living room?


Wherever it is, just start there.


Well, for two reasons.

One, you will feel accomplished once you get one room finished. You would have proven that you can do this (and you can)

And two…

Decluttering is therapeutic.

Once you’ve de-cluttered the busiest room in the house, you’ll have one entire room that can be like an oasis in the middle of the chaos.

It’ll motivate you to make the rest of your house as zen as the first room you organized.

Think of it like the snowball method of decluttering… the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do.

Get one room checked off the list and you have the motivation to move on to the next.


2)Set timers to make de-clutter less mentally taxing

If the thought of spending all day decluttering your whole house overwhelms you, don’t worry.

Instead of trying to work for hours and hours, just set a time for 20 minutes at a time.

Because the de-cluttering process can actually take weeks, it’s better to work in small chunks of time to stay on track and motivated.

When you can really focus on the task at hand without getting distracted, everything moves faster.

And if you have small children, this may mean cleaning up a little at a time after they go to bed.

Better yet, if you have older kids you can enlist them to be a part of your de-cluttering army.

Although sometimes children can make a bigger mess than the one you started with so that decision is up to you.

Bottom line, don’t feel like you have to do all the clearing up at once or by yourself.

Congratulate yourself for taking the steps to improve your surroundings even when mentally you just aren’t feeling it.


3)Use bags and baskets to organize the de-cluttering process

Many years ago, I saw a video titled something like How to Clean Fast When Company is on Their Way Over.

They used baskets to keep up the house as quickly as possible.

And so I’m thinking now if you use a variation of this method, that could be super motivating for you to see just how clean and organized your house could be.

To employ this technique, I would suggest you use bags and baskets and here’s how…

  • Use baskets for belongings you are keeping,
  • a bag for the things you are donating,
  • and a bag (ok several bags) for trash.


4) Let go- mentally and physically- of items that have served their purpose

I totally understand how hard it can be to let go of things.

We can attach emotions and memories to items and want to hang on to them, even if they are broken or not usable.

One thing you could do, if you find yourself having a hard time saying goodbye to some things is to take a picture.

If that item is broken, unfixable, unusable, take a picture of it and then lovingly place it in the trash.

You can even thank the item for whatever emotions it brought to your life (no that’s not an original thought).

And if it seems silly to you to take a picture of this item because it’s not that important then that’s a clear sign that should get rid of it.

I mean if it’s not important enough to take up memory on your phone, then it’s not important enough to take up space in your house.

So broken things, sentimental items that you’ve hung on to for years, old food, junk mail, clothes that you haven’t worn since college – let it go…just think that you’re sending these things to a better place.

As you place them in the trash bag, thank them for the role they played in your life.

Or if you’re not into it, put those items in a bag quickly before you change your mind!


5) Be kind to the earth and recycle

If the idea of throwing things in a landfill gets you down, then try and recycle as many items as can.

That way you’re doing your part to save the planet!

Ask yourself what can you recycle instead of throwing away?

Look around and you’ll probably find more stuff to recycle than you realized.

Recycling has two benefits…you’ll still be clearing the clutter from your house.

But you’ll feel good about doing something beneficial for the planet.


As you’re deciding what to recycle, place those items in a box labeled recycle.


6) Help those who are in need

Want to feel even better? Yes, saving the planet is nice but you can do one better.

Help your fellow man.

After tossing your broken and unusable items, you probably still have items that someone could use but you can’t.

That’s where donating to charity comes in.

As we all know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Giving to charity is a beautiful thing because you get to help someone who may not be able to afford quality clothes, furniture, books, etc.

But thanks to the generous contributions of people like you, someone less fortunate can get the things they need at a discounted price.

In fact, some charities associated with churches just give away items to people in need.

For instance, at my church, we have a clothes closet that’s set up like a store.

And all people have to do and “shop” around and find the items they need and then go up to the counter and “check-out”.

The process is completely free for them!

Once you’ve gathered all of the items you want to donate, put them in bags labeled donate so you can differentiate them from the things you are throwing away.


7) Be honest about what you want to keep and why

Now, we’ve gotten to the items you want to keep in your house.

Of course, you don’t have to justify to me, why you want to keep that 30-year-old outdated scarf with holes in it but you might want to justify it to yourself.

Ask yourself, why do I really want to keep this?

Does this item get used?

Does it make me happy?

Will it be useful in the future?

Only you can answer these questions.

I would suggest you be ruthless here and dig deep as to why you might want to keep a broken toaster.

Are you really going to fix it one day?

Do you even use toasters that much?

Does it make more sense just to buy a new one?

Why keep items that serve no practical purpose in your life?

Yes, it might be mentally and emotionally painful to throw certain items away.

I don’t discount that.

But if you’re reading this article then I believe you want to change.

So if you find something having trouble parting with an item or every item, maybe part with the items that hurt the least.

You are open to finding solutions for your clutter problem and I think that’s wonderful.

However, if you’re finding the whole process to be draining on your mental state, then you might want to get help from a professional to find out some of the deeper psychological reasons for this.

I recommend online-therapy.com because this is what I used to help me with my depression and anxiety.

You can create a free account by clicking below.

Click here to open a free online-therapy.com account!

The goal is to declutter and get rid of everything that isn’t currently necessary in your life.

The faster you can do that without guilt, remorse, or emotional toll the faster you can have the house of your dreams.


8) Finish the job

So, this step is truly the hardest.

Your job isn’t done just yet!

You’re close but you can’t celebrate until you’ve completely followed through.

This means…

  1. Put the trash bag… in the trash!


  1. Take the recycling to your local recycling center


  1. Contact charities close to you who would be willing to take or even collect your things, and then take the items to the charity or schedule a pick-up and don’t cancel it.


  1. Find a home for all the things you’re keeping, or put them back where they came from.


How To Make Sure You Stick To Your New Decluttering System

Now that you have a routine in place, you can use this exact set of actions on the rest of the rooms in your house.

Before you know it, your house will be company-ready all the time!

When you’ve completed step 8, we need to come up with ways to make sure you don’t reverse all of your hard work.

How can you keep your house clutter-free?

What systems can you put in place to make sure the clutter doesn’t reappear?

Here are some ideas…

Keep a small basket in each room for clutter.

On those days when you come home late from work or your schedule is super busy, that basket will come in handy.

And then once the basket fills up, you have to make a promise to yourself that you will empty it.

Once your organizing system is in place, you’ll need to explain to the people you live with how to keep things tidy.

Now, they won’t listen completely or follow your system to the letter.

Just know that going in.

Your best bet is just to give them some grace and gently remind them of what you showed them.

With kids, making it fun and clear (using pictures or charts) is key to making these changes run more smoothly.


Don’t Let Decluttering Overwhelm You!

Keep in mind that if de-cluttering starts to overwhelm you, remember what your main goal was in the first place.

You wanted your home to feel like a sanctuary.

A place where you could relax and destress.

A place that lifts your spirits.

I firmly believe having a clean and organized space can help pull you out of a depression (Source).

So anytime the decluttering journey engulfs you, just keep these things in mind and it will inspire you to keep going until you’ve passed the finish line!


Free Mental Health Resources For You...Keep Reading!


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Scripture meditations for overcoming anxiety

-Emotional health inventory quiz

-Anti-Anxiety Toolkit

-Digital & Printable Anxiety Triggers Checklist


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what to know about decluttering when you don't know where to start

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Medical Disclaimer: While Healthy As You Can strives to provide the most accurate information, anything you read on this site is purely for informational or entertainment purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice or as a replacement for a doctor’s care, diagnosis, appointment, advice, etc. I am not a medical professional at all. Any information, tips, or ideas that you try as a result of reading this blog is tried at your, the reader’s, own risk.

Mental Health Disclaimer: While I care deeply about your mental health, please know that I am NOT a licensed medical professional, therapist, counselor, social worker, or mental health professional. Any advice here is not to be taken as medical advice or a diagnosis. IF you need to talk to a licensed mental health professional you can use online-therapy.com (affiliate link) or call a mental health hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).



Angela Johnson is the owner and creator of Healthy As You Can (HAYC) and Christian Blogging Academy (CBA). She is also an author and certified life coach. She started this blog to help support other Christians who want to live a healthy and natural lifestyle but don't know where to start because it can be oh so confusing. She's still trying to figure it all out and as she does, she'll let you know!

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Angela Johnson is the owner and creator of Healthy As You Can (HAYC) and Christian Blogging Academy (CBA). She is also an author and certified life coach. She started this blog to help support other Christians who want to live a healthy and natural lifestyle but don't know where to start because it can be oh so confusing. She's still trying to figure it all out and as she does, she'll let you know!

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