What is the link between clutter and depression?

(This is a three part series about clutter and depression. They will post on three consecutive days.)

Have you ever helped someone move? I mean right from the boxing it up, hauling it to the new place and then unboxing it and placing its contents in a new home?

Three years ago, we helped my daughter and her family move. Now we’re helping my son and his family. So, of course, that prompted me to do some of my own purging of my own.  I’ve been slowly reducing my clutter for a while.

too much stuff

There are many changes going on in my life now and I guess I’ve decided it’s time to let the past be the past.

I’ve combed through boxes of momentos  I’ve stored. I kept some dolls, and two Barbies’ with fancy crochet dresses my mother made and put them in a box for my daughter.  I kept those items that had a specific memory attached to them. My son made three clay bowls. Those are staying.

My daughter took a pottery class once and made a trivet. I’m keeping that.

My husband compiled a book of original poems. That’s staying, of course.

Next, I went through a bunch of books-mostly novels. I quickly skimmed the first few pages of many of them. I managed to eliminate about twenty. I took them to the library where others can enjoy them. I did the same with magazines but then I pretty much stay on top of that anyway.

But there was a lesson in all this, above and beyond knowing I needed to do some clearing out. (I suggest you check out this post for a good description of how clutter impacts other areas of our life. The subject of clutter has been thoroughly researched and the overwhelming consensus is that clutter is not good for us, emotionally or spiritually.)

Different people are, of course, going to define what is clutter for them. A young mom will want to hang onto everything for a while. A mom whose children are going away to college isn’t going to be so willing to throw out the memories just yet. A senior citizen might well look at hanging onto things in a much different light.

There are “hoarders” and there are “throwerers” I know people at various places along the spectrum. I fall pretty much in the middle. I can only stand so much clutter and chaos. I learned a long time ago it is destructive to my emotional health. I’m certainly not a neat freak-not even close but I often clear out closets and shelves.

Some people feel that throwing things away means they don’t care. They feel as though they are insulting the people they care about if they throw away a gift. Some feel they are throwing away their memories. There are lots of reasons we hang on to things. It’s fascinating to see what people keep and what they get rid of.

Our memories give us hope for the future. But like the fireflies we catch in a jar, we can’t expect our past to light the way for us indefinitely.

I think God is a God of change anyway. He never leaves us where He finds us, unless, of course, we refuse to hear His voice. Life is always in flux, isn’t it?

the constant in life? change

If you need some encouragement to pare down your “stuff”, just help someone else move. It strikes fear in the heart to think of having to do your own!

Be sure to read tomorrow’s post.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.




2 thoughts on “What is the link between clutter and depression?”

  1. Thanks so much. My mother is in her eighties and won’t get rid of anything, and even the mention of letting go of any of it makes her angry. Her house is full and it makes me sad to see her live this way.For my own stuff, I make regular trips to GW and take books to the library, but she says “I throw things out”. I just try to keep my own stuff under control. Clutter causes so much grief in so many families. You are right, when you move, then you know how much stuff you really have.

    1. I just went to a thrift store today and bought three items. Now three items have to go! I’m determined to reduce my “stuff”.
      My mom is not a collector of anything but honestly I kind of wish she were. That would mean she has interests and hobbies. I’m afraid you r going to be having one big estate sale someday! BTW, mom always tells methe same thing.

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