Time to Regroup and Declutter
Last updated: August 2022
When I feel like I cannot handle the mess, I regroup. My home, my things, my thoughts, myself. I cannot focus on anything until I clean up everything around me. Sometimes, I simply need a blank slate to see clearly again. As a mom of 4 with MS, I have had to learn creative ways to simplify my life and make things easier on myself. These past 6 months have been a journey of cleaning, decluttering, and organizing.
A realization and need for decluttering
As much as my husband likes to joke that I'm a hoarder, I'm certainly not. However, I have difficulty letting go of things that I think might come in handy later. Thinking of the money and time I can save if I keep things on hand has prevented me from letting them go. Over the years, I have learned that I will usually forget I have those things I just knew I would one day need, or what I'm needing at the moment isn't easily accessible. So it sits there. It sits there until I reach a point where the clutter feels like too much. It's taken me 6 years, and ultimately having triplets, to realize that we have a full home. However, it is a small home for our larger family, and there's no point in keeping things that just sit and gather dust.
The connection between mess and anxiety
When I simplify things for myself, I find immediate satisfaction and relief. I've come to find that less really is more. Having less clutter creates more joy. It's like lifting a veil and seeing the beauty for the first time. Seeing that all the things money can buy don't always bring happiness, but oftentimes they suffocate you. Having less to deal with in my already chaotic life allows me to breathe. I feel like it lengthens my life span and gives me room to live in peace.
It's ok to keep things you might need later, but there is freedom in learning to let go of the junk. The junk eventually accumulates, thus causing anxiety and tension. Life is better when you're not surrounded by so much waste that you cannot enjoy the things you truly love the most. When you declutter, suddenly, life is more manageable again.
The benefits of cleaning for those living with MS
It's as if all the things I've been too tired to do are achievable again. I can get to the things I need with ease. I can clean without overdoing it. I can see the bigger picture when I let go of things that no longer serve a purpose in my current circumstances. Hold tight to the treasures in life, but throw away the trash. You cannot thrive when you're buried alive. Each thing that you give up helps you dig yourself out of the pit. Keep searching, and you may realize that you not only feel alive again, but your MS symptoms may be more manageable. And your overall health (both mental and physical) may improve.
For me, it's often the thought of not having things that cause panic, but once I release my grip, I see that they never brought me joy in the first place. Don't let the what-ifs cause you to suffer. If, for some reason, you let go of something you might need again later in life, then if you're meant to have it, you'll find a way. You don't even realize the painful grip things can have on you until you let them go. It's then that you're able to see you were the one standing in your way. Find ways to utilize your space in the most effective manner for you and your health, and you'll see the magic happen.
Using our energy wisely
It has been a learning process for me, but decluttering and organizing everything in my life has taught me things on many different levels. It has taught me that I have to keep my expectations for myself more realistic. I have MS, and that will not change, so learning how to manage my time and energy without drowning in clutter and my to-do list has been a game-changer for me. When I get tired, and it all feels like too much, I take a time out. I take a deep breath and encourage myself to get up and keep going.
I have always been a procrastinator. Procrastination has always felt easier for me because I work well under pressure. However, procrastination causes me to work harder, not smarter. I don't always have the energy or strength to do things at the times I want them done, but when I am able to find that little extra bit of effort, I feel better. And at this time in my life, I am learning to work smarter in every aspect and keep my head and my space clear in the process. To feel my best, and be my best.
Make things simple for yourself
I highly recommend regrouping, decluttering, and finding ways to simplify life with MS. Give yourself a blank slate again. I promise you, you'll feel better in the end. What things do you do to simplify your life, and make things easier for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: