Americans own a lot of things. They own books and CDs, Bluetooth speakers and old DVD players, and piles and piles of paperwork. They own photographs in photo albums, photo boxes, and photo frames. They own souvenirs, collectibles, and so, so much more. And it’s all burying them: People feel crowded out of their own homes, overwhelmed by clutter, and just plain stressed out.
It’s no secret that mess creates stress. Your mental health relies in part on the environment that you surround yourself with. If, like most Americans, you simply have too much stuff and not enough space, then you’re likely to be harming your mind. It doesn’t have to be like this, though. Here’s what you need to know about clutter, your home, and your mental health.
If your home had unlimited storage space, would it feel less cluttered?
Not everyone can honestly answer yes to this question. Even with unlimited storage space, we would still have to organize our belongings and store things in their proper place. For many, that’s part of the problem.
That’s why you should consider taking some time to reorganize your space. If parting with your possession is too tough to start with, organizing is a great second choice. It can give you a sense of how much storage space you have and how much you’ll actually need to downsize.
You’ll find great organizing tips and tricks online, but don’t assume that you’ll find some cure-all for clutter. Getting organized takes time, and there’s no substitute for downsizing.
There’s a good chance that a lot of the clutter in your home is important in some way personal, professional, legal, or other sense. But there’s also a good chance that some of these things could be digitized.
Consider scanning and storing your paperwork and photos as digital files. That folder full of legal paperwork, old hospital bills, and a copy of last year’s tax return is important, but it doesn’t need to be taking up physical space. Your smartphone’s app store, your Google Drive account, Flickr, Dropbox, and other apps and digital storage options can easily take the place of physical files. You can also store important files locally. Getting 1TB of storage on a hard drive—or even 2TB—can be quite affordable these days. And if you’re just dealing with documents, 100gb or less might be enough.
Photos are a particularly good example of why you should digitize. Your private photos are important to you, and you want to be able to access them quickly. Social media isn’t the best place to save these photos (you don’t necessarily want everyone you know to have access to every photo), but your computer can still be a solution. Invest in a private photo storage solution, and you could keep old and new photographs alike in secure local or cloud storage. A reliable photo storage site and a great photo app can take the place of piles of photo albums and boxes. Swap your real-life folders for digital ones, start an online photo vault, and free up some space in your home.
The list of things to digitize doesn’t end here, of course: You can put your calendar online, scan game and device directions, and event make private data and sensitive documents digital (as long as you lock them down in a digital vault). Not convinced yet? Start with a free version or basic plan, then upgrade to a premium cloud storage solution with unlimited uploads if you feel it’s worthwhile.
Again, this won’t release you from the obligation to downsize. It will, however, cut down on how much downsizing you need to do!
Your files aren’t the only things you can turn to your computer for help with. The internet also offers impressive resources for mental health care.
Take WithTherapy, for example. It’s a site that connects mental health professionals with clients and patients online. Experts in cognitive behavioral therapy are available to speak to those that they can help—and therapy can help just about anyone.