Use decluttering your space as therapy

In an era dominated by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the spaces we inhabit often become a reflection of our internal state of being. A cluttered environment can not only hamper our productivity but also adversely affect our mental well-being. However, by turning the process of decluttering into a therapeutic exercise, we can instill peace, clarity, and joy into our lives.

The psychological connection between clutter and mental well-being

Clutter isn’t just a physical burden; it’s a mental one too. Each item in our living space holds energy and memory. When surrounded by excess possessions, especially those with negative associations, it can serve as a constant reminder of past mistakes, regrets, or unfulfilled aspirations. Consequently, clutter can lead to feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and stress.

On the flip side, a decluttered space evokes a sense of serenity and offers room for creativity and growth. By actively choosing what to keep and what to release, we mirror this process mentally, deciding which emotions and memories serve our present and which ones we’re ready to let go of.

Decluttering as a form of self-care

Embracing decluttering as therapy is more than just organizing your possessions; it’s an act of self-care. Here’s how the process becomes therapeutic:

1. Mindful decision-making

Deciding which items to keep and which to part with requires introspection. By questioning why we’re holding onto certain things, we’re also diving deep into our emotions, memories, and values. This act of reflection can be highly revealing and can guide personal growth.

2. Sense of accomplishment

Each item discarded or organized can boost our mood through the dopamine release, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. This sense of accomplishment fosters increased self-worth and motivation.

3. Physical movement

The act of cleaning and organizing involves physical activity, which, in turn, releases endorphins—natural mood elevators. This physical aspect of decluttering offers dual benefits: a tidier space and a natural mood boost.

Steps to make decluttering therapeutic

1. Set intentions

Begin your decluttering journey by setting clear intentions. Ask yourself: what do i hope to achieve through this process? Whether it’s mental clarity, emotional release, or merely a more functional living space, having a clear goal will guide and motivate you.

2. Start small

Instead of attempting to declutter your entire home in one go, start with a small section—a drawer, a shelf, or a corner. This incremental approach not only makes the task less daunting but also offers a sense of accomplishment with each completed area.

3. Engage in reflection

As you sort through your possessions, take a moment to reflect on each item. Does it bring joy? Does it serve a purpose? What memories or emotions are attached to it? This reflection is the crux of the therapeutic decluttering process.

4. Create a ritual

Turn decluttering into a self-care ritual. Light a candle, play soothing music, or brew a cup of your favorite tea. Creating a calming ambiance can make the process enjoyable and meditative.

5. Practice gratitude

For every item you choose to part with, express gratitude. Thank the item for the role it played in your life, whether functional or emotional. This act of gratitude makes the process of letting go much smoother.

6. Seek support

If decluttering evokes strong emotions or memories, consider seeking support. Invite a trusted friend or family member to join you or consider professional therapy. Sharing your feelings and experiences can provide clarity and comfort.

Reaping the benefits

Decluttering, when approached therapeutically, can lead to numerous benefits:

  • Mental clarity: a tidy environment mirrors a clear mind, making decision-making and problem-solving easier.
  • Reduced anxiety: by eliminating unnecessary stimuli, you reduce the triggers of anxiety and stress in your environment.
  • Increased productivity: with fewer distractions and a more organized space, efficiency and productivity are bound to increase.
  • Emotional release: letting go of possessions can mirror the process of releasing pent-up emotions, leading to a sense of lightness and peace.
  • Enhanced well-being: the combined benefits of mental clarity, reduced anxiety, and emotional release contribute to overall enhanced well-being.


In essence, decluttering is more than just an act of tidying up; it’s a journey towards self-discovery and healing. As the renowned organizing consultant Marie Kondo suggests, if an item doesn’t “spark joy”, it’s time to part with it. And as we release these physical items, we also pave the way for emotional and mental release.