Clutter and Discouragement

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How Clutter and Discouragement Often Go Hand in Hand @

A Time to Clean: Day 7

You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.

Do you ever find yourself day dreaming of a different life… or maybe you just feel dissatisfied with the way things have been going in your life. Discontentment can severely affect everything from your relationships to your homemaking. I wish I could say I’ve never been discontent, but that wouldn’t be true!

Life is hard sometimes. A lot of times. And there are definitely seasons in life that are harder than others.

Discontentment Can Lead to Clutter

Discontentment will eat at you until you feel so helpless and dissatisfied with life that those things that are precious to you can lose their appeal. Like homemaking. Or marriage. Or motherhood. For me, it was my house.

Often times, clutter or a messy house is a symptom of discouragement, discontentment, and depression. A lack of energy or excitement about home is a classic reason why it’s so hard to keep it neat and organized. We shop for new things because we are unhappy. We hold on to things because we are unhappy. We find it hard to let things go because we are unhappy. And we’re unhappy because life seems harder than it should be.

When we’re depressed or discouraged, the house gets messy and a messy house makes us feel more stressed, depressed, and discouraged which leads to more discontentment. It’s a viscous cycle.

So, how do we go from being depressed and discouraged when life may very well be hard to feeling content and finding our joy again? For me, it was making the decision to laugh more, focus on what really mattered to me, and learning to say no {setting boundaries}.

Figuring out why you’re so unhappy might require some deep soul searching. The source of your discontentment may not be crystal clear to you, but I believe that if you pray about it and ask God to show you why you’re feeling unhappy with life that He will give you answers. Other times, you know why – maybe your marriage is difficult or you have a parent who wants to control your life or maybe your husband has been out of work for months.

Whatever the reason, when life is hard, sometimes you have no control over that. So, instead of trying to control your circumstance, you have to change the way you think about things. We can choose to be happy. I had to choose to be happy. I found a new way of looking at life and it has set my soul free.

The Opposite Effect

Clutter can also lead you to feel discouraged and discontent. Studies have shown that excess clutter in your life can lead you to feel more stress. It is harder to focus and and actually decreases your performance overall. Which you have probably already realized!

In fact, I’ve read that if you get rid of 1/3 – 1/2 of your stuff that you’ll live longer and feel happier. Do you think it’s true? I do.

Clutter adds a lot of unwanted “things” to my life. Things like:

  1. The house gets messy so fast.
  2. I feel overwhelmed when I walk into a messy room.
  3. I can’t always find the things I need when I need them.
  4. I can’t always be spontaneous and invite people over.
  5. It stresses me out and makes me unhappy.

And if stress is a leading cause of death… well, maybe having less stuff really could add years to my life!

Remember how I said, focus on one pile, one closet, one drawer at a time? When clutter has overtaken your life, it’s important to understand that it probably won’t go away over night. When you begin to declutter, don’t get discouraged. Don’t look at the mess in your house as a whole. Break down each room into manageable tasks.

Today’s Goal

  • Ask God to show you what things may be causing you to feel discouraged about life in general. Are there things going on that are out of your control? What can you do to change the way you deal with those things {change your mindset}?
  • Or do you think that clutter is the main reason you feel stressed and unhappy in your own home?
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle. I’ll be working in my bedroom today.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal. I’ll be waking up around 6:30 am.

My Projects for Today

So, the last few days for me have been really busy. Sunday we had to go get a load of hay for the horses and then spent the rest of the day working in the yard. Our yard has been somewhat neglected over the last few years because we were too busy taking care of other people and literally didn’t have time to deal with it. Projects we started a few years ago – namely putting in a lovely patio in our backyard were pushed to the back burner after only finishing 1/3 of the project. Discouraging!

My husband has more time {and less stress} now to work on the house and he’s been getting excited about completing a lot of projects around the house. Finally, things I felt would never get done {discouragement} are being tackled and it is exciting!

Our children are older now {the youngest is 11} and we began dismantling our old wooden swing set. It was kind of sad! But, we have plans to put in a very fun obstacle course in our yard – I’m voting for a zip line – but at least for now as winter approaches way too fast we are trying to get the yard winterized and the wood stacked in the wood room.

swing set

So I guess, that counts as getting rid of clutter? Maybe. At least it was a step in the right direction for our outdoor space!

Monday, of course, I was gone all day to Knoxville for ice skating, falling right into bed when we got home {after tucking in my girls}. So, even when you have plans to get as much decluttering done as possible life still goes on and you have to work around that! And that’s okay. Because today is a new day and I have plans to get a lot done today!

How does clutter make you feel? Do you feel discontent at home?

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  1. I really want to thank you for all that you have been sharing. I just started reading your blog the day before you started the 30 day challenge. I am learning alot about myself and the emotional ties I have to THINGS in my house and I have let it go on way to long. Im also starting to enjoy my home again and not cringing when someone walks into a one of the rooms I just stash stuff. Its day by day like you said but its making all the difference. Thank you so much. I look forward to what the Lord has up ahead.
  2. This one really hits home! The constant clutter is what makes me feel bogged down and discouraged. Especially with a particularly picky MIL. I have been married for 11 years and it has just been the last year that I have finally decided to stop trying to have a clean and tidy house for her...its also been just this year that my house has slowly started staying cleaner and more tidy. Don't get me wrong we still have a LONG way to go to get things the way my husband and I would like but we both have an understanding that the house won't be perfect until our kids are older. Right now they range in age from 10 down to 1 so its going to be a while. But the fact that we ate ok with it has made it a lot easier to take steps to make our home happier not just cleaner.
    1. Julie, home is where real life happens! :) It doesn't have to be perfect to still be warm and inviting. And tidy is good, perfect... pretty much unattainable when you have little ones and really, who enjoys sitting in a perfect room? Cozy is much better.
  3. Thanks for your post. Once again, you have given me thoughts to ponder and actions to take. The cause for most of my stress right now is not my home. My daughter is dating an atheist and I have been in panic mode thinking of how this is going to impact my 3 grandchildren. From your post today, I realize this is something I can't control so I have to turn it over to the One who can. Instead of operating in panic mode, I make the choice to operate in faith mode. God will take care of my loved ones, I stand in faith that He will have more impact on their young lives than Satan. God is greater and will win this battle.
  4. Oh my goodness, how TRUE your title is! I have clinical depression to add to all my other stuff. I'm also a slob. I've been working on it, but it always seems to lapse back into mess. With God's help, I'll get this down! Hopefully before I die! I'm 55.

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