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Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning Out and Tidying Up

With the holidays looming near, we often feel overwhelmed in a variety of ways.  This time of year can often bring added feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.  It seems like there is always something to do between gatherings, shopping, and preparing for our own festivities, and little time to focus on our own mental health needs.  Family may be coming from out of town, or maybe you’re hosting your friends for dinner.  The holidays can be stressful enough without the added pressure of wanting your home to look it’s best, while also preparing for everything else the holidays entail.  

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like there is too much to do, and not enough time to do it, getting organized and cleaning out can help you to feel calmer, and more in control this holiday season.  Here are 5 ways to clean out and tidy up your home before the holidays.

  1. Make a Cleaning To-Do List

Making lists is one of the best ways to start to organize your life and feel like you have a handle on all that you need to do.  Make a list of the rooms/areas that need cleaning (kitchen, bathrooms, baseboards, etc.), and feel the satisfaction and release of stress as each item gets checked off!

  1. Make Room for New Toys

If you have children, you know that while the holidays are a time of magic, they can also be a time of stressful thoughts wondering where exactly you are going to put all of the new gifts your children receive.  Prior to the holiday, have your kids choose toys they no longer want or need.  This way, you can donate those items to children and families in need, while also making room for new toys.  This is the perfect time to also go through arts & crafts supplies and get rid of any old markers or crayons and any other broken toys before the holiday season.

  1. Clean Out and Organize Closets

Along with toys, the holidays are a time where we often receive new clothes.  Take this time to go through your closets and donate any clothes, shoes, or coats that are in good shape but your family has outgrown.  Organizing your closets will help you to better utilize space, as well as make room for new items.

  1. Clean Out Pantry, Refrigerator and Freezer

The holidays are a time for quality family time, cooking, and baking.  Make room for meals/leftovers by cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer prior to any baking nights and the holidays.  In addition, cleaning out your pantry will help prepare for any baking endeavors by ensuring you don’t buy ingredients you already have, or thinking you have something you don’t.

  1. Ask for Help

While the holidays can be an extremely stressful time, there are ways to manage it.  Reach out to family and friends and ask for help.  If you have children, a spouse, or other family that lives with you, assign tasks from your cleaning list.  Remember to prioritize your needs and your own mental health.  Take time for yourself, slow down, and enjoy the holiday magic!

By Emily Kuhn, LMSW