Do you get anxiety about decluttering? If so, you are not alone! Clutter can cause anxiety, but getting rid of it can also make people anxious. So how do you declutter so that you feel better and not worse? In this post, I’ll talk about some signs that you might have anxiety about your clutter and I’ll describe some of the most common worries people have about decluttering. If you’re someone who gets anxious about your clutter, keep reading!
Signs you might have anxiety about decluttering
Your body’s stress response is either fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. You may have one response that you go to often, or you might have a combination of responses.
- Fight: You feel angry. You might direct your anger towards someone or something else that isn’t related to your clutter, such as “the news”. Blaming your anger on someone/something else is your mind’s coping mechanism to protect you from thinking (and dealing with) your clutter. You get easily annoyed or even rage filled.
- Flight: You’ll do (almost) anything to avoid having to deal with your clutter. You’re seriously procrastinating your decluttering tasks, and possibly making [very believable] excuses as to why your procrastinating is valid.
- Freeze: You have a difficulty making decisions and are easily overwhelmed. You can’t think clearly and your mind is overrun with fear. When you try to declutter, your brain shuts down.
- Fawn: You become heavily focused on pleasing others or catering to their needs. You help other people deal with their clutter or problems instead of dealing with your own. You may neglect your personal needs and have a hard time saying no. You might have a hard time even knowing how you feel.
Here are some other signs:
- Your body feels shaky, or you have other physical symptoms such as a stomach ache, headache, or trouble catching your breath. Or you may go into a full-blown panic attack.
- Your clutter keeps you up at night. You’ll either go to bed really late and have a hard time waking up in the morning, you have a hard time falling asleep, or you wake up and can’t fall asleep. Or you sleep too much.
- You either eat way too much or not enough.
- You are numbing out with alcohol or recreational drugs. Or you’re displaying other types of addictive behavior such as over shopping, gambling, too much screen time, or over exercising.
- You’re having a very difficult time regulating your emotions.
Most Common Worries About Decluttering
• You’re worried about wasting money, or admitting that you wasted money.
• You’re worried about needing or wanting something again “just in case”.
• You’re worried about forgetting about something (forgetting memories, forgetting to do something, or forgetting you have something).
• You’re worried about not getting something to the best home or not recycling properly. Or you’re worried about giving something away prematurely (and finding the missing parts later).
• You’re worried about upsetting someone or feeling guilty for giving away something someone gave you.
• You’re worried about getting overwhelmed and stalling out/freezing/going down a rabbit hole and wasting time.
• You’re worried about experiencing uncomfortable emotions when you encounter triggering items that bring back memories.
• You’re worried that all the work you’ve put in will be for nothing. You might be afraid that other people will clutter it up again, or you don’t trust yourself to keep it neat.
If you experience any of these worries, you are not alone! Lots of people have anxiety about decluttering. In my next post, I’ll talk about techniques to help ease your worries so that you can declutter and get organized.
What makes you feel the most nervous about decluttering?
*** Please note: If you are experiencing serious anxiety, please go seek professional medical advice. Signs that you might have serious anxiety are if your anxiety is keeping you from doing important things you need to do to function in life. Some examples are: not sleeping properly, your anxiety is impeding your work, you have very little desire to leave the house or socialize, or you are having other ongoing physical or cognitive symptoms. If your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, please go see a doctor or therapist.
Posted By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
- Follow me on Instagram @seattlesparkle
- Join my Facebook Group, Declutter and Organize with Seattle Sparkle.
- Ready to book a consultation? Complete this form.
- Download my free 5 week journal The Seattle Sparkle Method to Get Organized and Stay Organized
- Check out my media exposure: Seattle Sparkle in the Media
- For artwork to energize your home, order through jeanprominski.com.