A crowded, cluttered home can have implications on your mental health, physical safety, and ability to find items that you need. Too much clutter is frustrating and makes a house look messy, but for people with disabilities, it holds additional problems and dangers.
Decluttering a home takes some time, planning, and energy, but it can be a rewarding experience that leaves your home safer and more enjoyable for you and your family.
Why Decluttering Matters
Cluttered, messy living areas can be directly linked to stress. Too much clutter can bombard your senses and distract you from the things you should be focusing on. With a messy house, it's hard to relax, and you may have the sense that your work is unfinished. Plus, living in a messy house can make you feel guilty about the lack of organization. If you're feeling guilty, you may be reluctant to let friends or family stop over, which can lead to isolation.
Clutter holds significant risks for people with disabilities. If you have limited strength, impaired balance, or any other condition that makes it easier for you to fall, walking in a messy house can increase your chances of being injured. People who use mobility devices like wheelchairs or walkers can benefit from plenty of free floor space, and decluttering can make it easier for them to navigate through their homes.
Caregivers or family members can join in, making decluttering your home and getting quality care easier. Caregivers can move about more easily and safely in an organized home, and they can better find supplies and other care items when everything is in its place. If caregivers ever need to help transfer you or a loved one from a chair to a bed, for example, they will need extra floor space to ensure everyone's safety. Plus, if anyone in the home ever needs emergency services, first responders can access the home more quickly when doorways and floors are clear.
How to Deal With Too Much Stuff
Tackling a messy, crowded house can feel like a monumental task, but remember that decluttering your home will leave you feeling better, happier, and safer. If you need to simplify your life and your home, break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps so that you don't get overwhelmed. Set yourself a time limit of just 30 minutes a day and focus on one room at a time. Once your time limit is up, allow yourself to stop cleaning and go do something you enjoy.
Just cleaning your home isn't always the answer, though; if you have too much stuff to begin with, you'll need to get rid of some things. Contact local groups, like nearby churches, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, and The American Red Cross to find out about their donation acceptance policies. Knowing that your items will go to a good cause can make it easier to give some things up.
If you're having trouble deciding which items you no longer need, experiment by putting items away into a box for a few months. If you don't touch or miss those items during that time period, chances are you really don't need those items at all. You can give those items away without worrying so much that you will need or use them since they're really just taking up space in your home.
As you clean your home, focus on putting lesser-used items in places where they're out of sight to make the area feel cleaner and less busy. Identify areas, like counters or tables, that serves as a "catch-all" for items when you come in the home, and try to break the habit of placing and leaving items there. During the cleaning process, take before and after photos to keep yourself motivated and to remind yourself of all of the hard work that you've done.
Strategies for the Ideal Home Layout
While cleaning up your home can leave you feeling less stressed, a few feng shui strategies can transform your home for improved overall harmony. Remove damaged items or broken furniture, experiment with different colors to evoke different energies, and add some plants to your home to create positive energy. Feng shui can help to relieve stress and make your home into a pleasant, peaceful place where you enjoy spending time.
When you rework and clean your home, you may also want to do some remodeling to accommodate disability needs. Simple changes like installing ramps, remodeling a bathroom, or widening doorways can make your home more accessible and safer for everyone who lives there.
A cluttered, messy house isn't good for anyone, but it's particularly important for people with disabilities to make an effort to reduce crowding in their homes. Cleaning up is a major process, so don't be afraid to hire a professional cleaning service if it's too much for you to handle on your own. The investment will be well worth the health and safety of your family.
Image credit: Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash