We need to talk about the connection between clutter and anxiety
A bedroom is more than just a place with your belongings.
At the age of 22, I am still yet to experience the joy and independence that comes with having your own physical space.
As someone with a big family, I grew accustomed to sharing space with others. Whether it’s my wardrobe being in a different room, or my shoes, I’m regularly shifting between places to get what I need.
Just yesterday, I was moving my belongings around, trying to figure out what things are necessary for the current moment in time. I kept the books I needed for the week and organized the makeup and beauty products I’m currently using. I didn’t go full-on KonMari method but did make some progress to feel comfortable in my space.
For me, this is a repetitive cycle. Move things around. Get some semblance of my identity in a shared room. Stuff gets too messy. Set off anxiety. Repeat.
I feel like I’m in a liminal state.
My things are all over the place and so am I.
I’m always in between but I deeply desire to have one whole space that defines my existence.
Not only is it triggering to be surrounded by other’s people’s possessions, but it’s also the extent of the things. Bear in mind, that immigrant families are expert hoarders. That food mixer you’ve used once? It’s tucked away safe for when we eventually use it. (Hint: we don’t.)
I’m not admonishing families for stockpiling things as it comes with the territory of being an immigrant. We have gaajar halwa (a sweet dish made of carrots) stocked in our freezer for unplanned dawats (get-together with a huge feast). And believe me, surprise gatherings are a common occurrence in my house. Just to reiterate, I’m eternally grateful for having such a giving family and spares of everything. It’s a blessing that’s often taken for granted by most of us.
Of course, hospitality is another trait of an immigrant family. Guests are made to feel comfortable in the presence of their hosts. Therefore, it’s commonplace to have things ready for company, even when it is unexpected. Indeed, hoarding stuff is naturally part of being as accommodating as possible.
Living in a cluttered nest is a daily challenge for someone to keep organized, let alone for someone with anxiety.
But there comes the point where things must change for the sake of mental health.
Now that I think about it, my Pinterest ‘Home’ board nearing 2000 pins is a coping method for living vicariously in my place of respite. That Scandi desk with hairpin metal legs and the Vitra Uten Silo storage board is something are recurring home items I wish into existence. I always imagine what it would be like to decorate my own place.
Not to mention, the stress of millennials not being able to afford their homes is something that is always on my mind. Day by day, I try to become more financially literate to achieve the goal of being a property owner. Even though the odds are against me, it’s a yearning for which I’m determined to succeed.
Ultimately, I feel that not having my own place of respite limits my personal growth. How can I grow if I don’t have a space that defines me?