How to combat messiness and keep your mind healthy

Table of Contents

Combating messiness and chaos is important for lots of reasons. Certainly, living in a clean and structured environment is important to our mental health. This has been proven by much research. How we combat messiness and keep our minds healthy is not as hard as you might think. This post is for those people who at least know they live in a mess and maybe don’t know what to do about it.

This is one of the posts that you’ll either love or hate. But I don’t apologize if you don’t like it. It’s true and worth considering.

Have you ever walked into a house and said to yourself, “I don’t even want to sit down in this mess.” I have, and it never ceases to amaze me how someone can live in chaos. Better yet, why would someone choose to live that way?

Messiness is a choice.

Most of us don’t like to hear that. We don’t like hearing about choices, period. I know I would just as soon avoid the word sometimes. It makes me accountable, and who wants that?

Even for those people who think they are comfortable with their mess, it still isn’t mentally healthy. It is often a symptom of an underlying mental illness. When I use the phrase, mental illness, I am not talking about severe illness. We must quit thinking of mental illness resembling the homeless on the street, disheveled, and addicted to drugs. Mental illness is an illness of the mind, just like diabetes is an illness of the body.

It is as treatable, as are most physical illnesses .

What is a messy house?

What do I mean by a messy house? I don’t mean those situations we all have where our houses get really messed up because we’re undergoing remodeling, painting, or any kind of home renovation. But I’ve found that even then, we can be organized and neat in other areas of our home.

For example, when I am working on a book, whatever table I’m working on is a mess. And it might stay a mess for a week. Eventually, I straighten it up. But the rest of the house is organized, and things are in place. It’s the only way I can write.

picture of a messy table/combat messiness
picture of a messy table/combat messiness

Messiness can lead to dirty

In this post, I am referencing a “messy” house, not a dirty one. But be aware a house that stays messy will eventually end up dirty, and that’s a whole other problem.

This post is for those who just need some awareness. They want to keep their house clean. They want their lives to be less chaotic and more clutter-free. This post is meant to increase awareness, so you will at least know whether you have a problem or not.

Causes of messiness

Sometimes the result of too much stuff.

It’s hard to even see the dirt when you have so much you can’t see the corners of your room. It’s almost impossible to be messy if you don’t have too much “stuff.” But even with many possessions, a home can be clean and orderly.

I’m one of those who has way too much “stuff.” But I’ve been working hard at purging for weeks now. I have a way to go, but I’m getting there. And while my house isn’t usually messy, I think having fewer items to dust and reorganize will just make it easier. I’ve had a tendency to store too many decorative items because I like to change the look of my house. But if you never display it, why keep it at all?

And the other thing I’ve learned is the more horizontal pieces of furniture you have, tables, desks, etc., the more you will feel compelled to place things on them, and that’s more to dust and rearrange. Right? I’ve removed a couple of side tables for just that reason.

I’ve even painted glass doors so I don’t have to have to decorate the shelves because they can be seen. (The shadings you see are not my painting job. They’re just shadows.)

picture of a neat piece of furniture/combat messiness

Don’t you find an organized and neat house keeps you mentally, and emotionally, healthy?

Maybe you’re just highly organized.

You might be highly efficient and have everything organized, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have too much “stuff.” It just means you’ve organized your “stuff.”

I read somewhere once that when you are organizing, the last thing you want to do is buy more storage bins. You’ll just have it better organized, but there won’t be less of it. I’ve eliminated a lot of storage bins since Christmas, and I’m only starting.

A messy house can lead to chaotic living

Messiness leads to chaotic living.

We can’t find our keys.

We’re packing lunches and don’t have what we need because our cupboards were messy, and we didn’t know we were out.

Because our closest is a mess, we are late for work because what we planned to wear is in the dirty clothes hamper.

picture of a messy closet/combat messiness

I think you get the idea.

Messiness affects our mental health

Keeping clutter and chaos in place is important. It’s for our own emotional and mental well-being. And that’s really the point of keeping our lives clutter-free and chaos-free.

I should add here I’m not talking about compulsive cleanliness. That is as detrimental to our emotional health as much as is clutter and dirt.

By no stretch of the imagination am I a neat freak. I don’t spring clean because I haven’t let things pile up in the months prior. In fact, I never have to clean all the rooms in my house on the same day.

Can lead to anxiety and depression

But what most people really don’t get is that orderly living is an important part of our mental health. Anxiety and depression are exacerbated and even triggered by a mess. When we’re continually faced with a mess, we feel stressed.

Continued messiness is often a symptom of something else. As it continues, we feel out of control, leading us to give up and live with it instead of tackling it. We are simply overwhelmed by it all.

Leads to a messy mind.

Period. You can try and explain it away any way you want, but there is a huge amount of scientific evidence that supports that our environment affects us and that it defines how we feel about ourselves. We all live in an environment, and we are all affected by our environment. You know this to be true. You respond to color, smell, and sight. Think about how you respond when you walk into chaos and how you respond when you walk into an orderly room. It’s very different, isn’t it? Walking into your own home elicits a response as well. What is it?

When my husband and I go on a trip, whether short or long, I make sure my house is in order before we leave. The thought of returning to a messy house after a great time away ruins my vacation.

And believe it or not, even your walk with God is enhanced by an orderly and neat home. Your mind isn’t always thinking about the mess you have to clean up because you keep it cleaned up on a regular basis.

Messy houses can equal financial losses

It’s also important to keep our homes clean because it prevents other problems from occurring. Our homes are our biggest investment, and it benefits us, in the long run, to keep them in tip-top shape.

Also, because we don’t take care of our belongings, we must replace them more often, and that’s an added expense.

By the way, in no shape, manner, or form am I a neat freak. Just your average clean person who makes her own share of messes at times.

God likes order/ not messiness

How do I know that?

First of all, God’s instructions are always orderly, and he likes lists. Think ten commandments.

We simply think better when our surroundings are in order. I think it goes back to creation.

God could’ve created the world and everything in it with one click of his fingers. Instead, he took seven days (italicized because there are a number of ways to look at the creation story) of apparently careful consideration to design the world the way he did. Just think of the complex ways this world works, the way our bodies work.

It’s all so orderly. If we do this, this happens. Do that, that happens.

And by the time man was created, everything was in place for him. I believe that God is a God of order, and I believe everything in scripture supports this.

Gratitude combats messiness

We forget that we live in his world and show total disregard for his world when we don’t show our gratitude and take care of our belongings.

If you live in the United States, you already live better than 90% of the world. Hey, I’m just like a lot of you. I drive through expensive neighborhoods, and I envy those houses at times. While I love my old farmhouse, I can’t say I wouldn’t love to have the house of my dreams. But I know this; I will take good care of the one I’ve got because in doing so, I am expressing my gratitude to God.

This wasn’t a post meant to make anyone feel bad. But unless we confront a simple and solvable issue like this and take care of it, how will we be able to handle the big ones?

God bless, and have a great day.