Managing Anxiety & Me! - Organizing my home
Over the last 5 years or so, organising my home has been a fundamental element of managing my anxiety. This all started a number of years ago when I worked for a multi national company from America. One of the courses available within my job was on lean management. The idea behind lean was to organise your space in order to be more productive in your job.
I remember the tutor giving examples such as keeping your cups stored above your kettle and your toaster near where your bread was stored. Such simple ideas that would not only save you time but in essence would take another stresser out of a daily excercise. It made sense to me that if everything had its place then it would free up time for me to work, have fun and to have more me time.
In saying that my home is not one that you would find in a magazine, but for me it's manageable and I don't feel trapped in a spiral of constantly tidying, giving out to kids over tidying and I can actually find what I need.
Another key motivator for me was around 15 years ago I lived in a house that was rented and old. I was young and had no kids so having a kept house wasn't on my list of priorities at the time. One day I asked my partner why some members in his family never called over. He said that honestly it was because the house was to messy. I swear that sentence stayed with me for a very long time until I made some changes in my motivation. I know it shouldn't of bothered me but unfortunately one of my triggers for anxiety is what others think of me and say about me. It hits me hard.
A few years on and this thought was still in my head and it turned into mild OCD if that is a term. I obsessed over what people thought of my home everyday. It never left my mind. I remember lying awake one night thinking about a stain that my youngest had left on the skirting board in the hallway and at 5am I had to get up and clean it for fear it would be seen. Complete madness unless a burglar had entered my house at that time and I'm sure he/she wouldn't of been inspecting my skirting boards.
So, I had to find the balance. Having a cluttered home was making me feel depressed and unmotivated and being to obsessed was making me anxious. So I took on the lean approach.
So enough about me. Here are some things I do to keep my house and mind safe from clutter.
I like to see what I have in my food presses so I use what's there first before buying again. I buy jars for pasta and containers to hold loose packets like opened rice etc to save mess. Being a low income household this also saves on unnecessary buying of food that I already have. I use bag clips to keep opened packages closed so I don't have a press full of mess. If I buy new foods that we don't like then if they are unopened I will keep them aside and when I have enough I bring them to my local homeless kitchen. If you look in your presses right now I bet you might be able to fill a bag with foods you have kept but will more than likely never use.
These are the boxes I use as they fit most kitchen presses and store a lot. Anytime I go to IKEA I always pick up a few.
I use maison Jars for my pasta and rice so I can always see what needs to be used first and how much I have left. You can find these everywhere now and I buy mine in Dealz.
For the rest of the cupboards I have them each with certain foods. One is for lunches, bread and snacks, another is for cups and dishes etc. I can't do with presses that have food and plates in the same as it only leave for spillages and then your clean plates are dirty again. I'm sorry but yes I am one of those people who will organise your presses if I see this :D
The living area or sitting room is always and will always be my calm place. I don't clutter any area and toys are kept in bedrooms with the exception of one. I don't have ornament presses and I have minimal pieces on my fireplace. I have a few reasons for this. Firstly having a child with ASD and his primary issue being anxiety, I don't have toys everywhere so he can feel more relaxed. To much clutter causes over stimulation for him. So he chooses what he wants to play with and we keep that for the day and he himself will bring it back upstairs afterwards. Also for me the sitting room is where I often work and relax. Working at home can be difficult if you are trying to concentrate with lots of mess around you. Keeping this area minimal means that it takes less effort to get comfortable each day. One thing I do love is having fresh flowers in my sitting room. There's something about it that gives me that feel good happier feeling.
For the bedrooms again I like to make sure that everything has it's own storage. Even my makeup I have small boxes with lips in one, concealers in another. Honestly it's more so that I don't over buy. For the children I like to make sure that they can be responsible with little effort when it comes to tidying. Lets be honest it's not something they want to do.
I make sure that I regularly de-clutter they're wardrobes of clothes that are to small and pass them onto my local SVDP shop. Each room has a clean clothes basket that I fill everyday so they can put away ( more so I can when I have time) so that I don't have mountains of clothes left on floors and once again they then get dirty. They have a small bin in each room so any mess, because we all aren't perfect, can be brought down each day without any fuss.
I hope in even a small way these little tips help. I know it can be a few that get bothered by certain things, but for me it has helped with anxiety over the years. I try and limit the amount of things in my life that bother me daily as stress normally leads me to feeling anxious. Also I really do believe that your surroundings have a big role to play in how you are feeling.
I hope you enjoyed and I would love any feedback or suggestions that you have.