Most days the last thing teenagers want to do is clean their room or organize all the papers that have been stuffed into their backpack during the day. It’s easy to fall into the habit of stacks of papers and piles of laundry (both clean and dirty). But when your environment is cluttered, it can actually have an effect on your mental health.
Clutter and Mental Health
While it may not be realistic for everything in the house to always be pristine, it is important to identify when clutter and mess is becoming a problem. Do you find being in your room relaxing? Or does all the clutter remind you of unfinished “to-do” lists and cause you to feel overwhelmed? If you’re feeling the latter, then you may be feeling the effects of an untidy environment.
The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory. According to a 2011 study, clearing clutter from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, as well as increased productivity.
Creating a system for organizing your space can help you feel calmer and more in control.
- Sort It Out: Create a sorting system for: keep, donate, and throw away. Begin by going through your belongings to decide what you truly need, what you would like to move on to a new home, and what really needs to go in the trash or be recycled. This is the stage where it gets worse before it gets better. Go through your room section by section to keep from being overwhelmed by the task.
- A Place for Everything: Once you’ve decided what you’d like to keep, find a place for everything. Find a place that makes sense (for example keep writing supplies and papers near your desk instead of a high shelf on the other side of the room). When your belongings have a logical place they’re stored, it makes it easier to put them away when you’re done instead of leaving them out and creating more clutter.
- Create a Routine: Now that you have a place for everything, create a routine around organization. For example, spend 15 minutes at the end of the day to put anything left out back in its proper place. When you’re tired at the end of the day it may not sound appealing to tidy up, but those 15 minutes during your day will make the rest of your week so much easier. On the other hand, if you put it off, you will be back to the clutter that was causing you to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
BlueFire Wilderness Can Help
Life is a journey. Our comprehensive multi-faceted and clinical approach in the wilderness helps teens and their parents navigate this journey in a positive direction. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight-oriented therapy, outdoor living, adventure activities, and academic focus these teens will find their true selves. We provide a supportive opportunity for parents and children to re-connect and strengthen their relationship. For more information please call (208) 494-9505.