As the weather starts to change, the clocks go back and we all feel like staying indoors a lot more, some of us enjoy the feeling of making our homes cosy and looking forward to Christmas, whilst others feel a bit low, rather lethargic and less interested in socialising or doing things we normally enjoy. It can be difficult to know whether feeling a bit low is something you can tackle yourself, or whether you might need help and support.
Do you have the winter blues?
The ‘winter blues’ is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it’s not known how many people suffer from this because most people don’t tend to see their GP unless they’re badly affected.
If you’re feeling more tired than usual, have less energy, have less interest in doing things or spending time with people you love, or generally feel sad or tearful, you might have SAD.
If you think you may have SAD, increasing the time you spend outdoors, exercising more (even if it’s just a short walk near home) and eating a varied diet can help, but if symptoms persist then it’s worth seeing your GP for support. You might just be low in Vitamin D - indeed, the NHS says that all adults in Britain "should consider taking a daily Vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter."
Your GP can advise on whether there are any other forms of support available.
If you think you might just need a bit of a change at home, or feel like you need a change of environment to perk you back up, one of the biggest things you can do in your home to improve your mental health is to declutter.
The science behind decluttering and improving your mental health
There is a surprising amount of scientific research into the effect that clutter in our homes has upon our mental health. Various studies have found that clutter can impact mental health in a number of ways. A cluttered home can lead to:
It makes sense that decluttering will alleviate these issues at least to some degree, but letting go of clutter can be difficult.
What is clutter, and why do we have it?
Some people just like having lots of belongings around them. What might look like ‘clutter’ to some is comforting for others to have nearby, within sight and as a reminder of all the things they love. There’s a whole decor style - maximalism - dedicated to creating a sense of being surrounded by stimulating design and textures.
Clutter is therefore subjective, but as a whole if any of the following statements apply to you, you might benefit from decluttering:
- You have items you don’t need or don’t use that take up useful space (e.g. outdated electronics, wires that don’t fit anything, clothes that don’t fit, shoes you don’t wear),
- You regularly lose things within your home,
- You don’t have enough storage space for everyday items,
- You don’t like having people round because your house always looks a mess,
- You can’t use certain rooms as they’re intended (e.g. a spare guest room) because they’re filled with things.
The reasons for hanging onto belongings can be complex, and whilst it can be easy enough to ‘blitz’ your home every so often and get rid of surface mess, tackling the underlying clutter and reducing excess belongings can be psychologically difficult.
You could have difficulty letting go of the past, and tend to hold onto things like your children’s baby clothes, toys and school work, or belongings from your own childhood. You might be looking after belongings for friends or family and have difficulty saying ‘no’ to them. A lot of clutter is accumulated ‘just in case’ - wires are kept ‘just in case’ we find an electronic device they fit, or old furniture and furnishings are kept ‘just in case’ you or a family member might need them in future.
How can self storage help with clutter?
To truly rid yourself of clutter, you can go through everything you don’t use regularly (room by room, at your own pace) and send excess items to charity or list them for sale to raise some extra cash.
If that’s too much, though, you could consider renting a self storage unit to store your excess belongings. Doing this will achieve two things:
1. You’ll have less clutter at home - and your mental health may well improve.
You’ll have loads more space at home, you’ll be able to use all of your rooms as you choose and it will be sooooo much easier to clean and keep everything tidy!
2. You’ll be able to see everything you own that you don’t use anymore when you’re sorting through it to put it in your unit.
It won’t be a case of finding stashes of clutter here, there and everywhere whenever you open a cupboard, or venture into the loft. You’ll be able to see clearly what’s there and how much there is of everything.
When your mental health is in a better state, you could then choose to go through your unit, box by box, and choose things you’re willing and able to let go of.
There might still be things you want to hold onto, but other things could be kept digitally by taking photos of them.
Generally, you may find that your clutter can be more easily recycled / given away / sold when it’s away from your home as you’ll naturally have less of a sense of ownership or attachment to them.
How much space do you need for storing your clutter?
A self storage unit can be a locker the size of a car boot, or a room large enough to store the entire contents of your home. You might not know how much clutter you actually own to be able to choose a size of unit effectively - so, if you’re committed to the idea of decluttering using self storage
, one idea might be to pile all your clutter in one room so you can visualise how much space you’ll need.
Be sure to label your boxes and organise your storage locker or unit in a way that you can easily access your boxes without having to climb over anything.
You can keep your self storage unit for a fortnight or however long you need after that, and you can either decide whether the cost of renting a unit long-term is worth it for a clutter-free home, or you can use it as an incentive to tackle the clutter for good.
If you’d like any help choosing a size of unit, or would like a no-obligation quote for short- and long-term self storage, get in touch by calling one of our friendly team for advice or contacting us online anytime.