A few weeks ago, my mom and my husband both retweeted an article on 10 ways to show love to someone with depression. I thought it was sweet that they took the time to read and share it, figuring it was the usual advice. But then I clicked on it and had a total lightbulb moment when I read the first suggestion:

Help them keep clutter at bay. 

Depression can be overwhelming and clutter can be overwhelming, so it makes sense that less clutter = helpful when you have depression. When I’m struggling, I’m aware that clutter contributes to my desire to hide in my room (though the almost-constant piles of laundry in there don’t help either) but I had never thought about the link between them so clearly.

laptop and clutter on a desk

With two small kids, we have our fair share of clutter: toys everywhere, dishes on the counter, granola bar wrappers on the floor. There are some days I look at it and almost can’t bear it. Luckily, my husband is a master tidier, and when he has done his sweep of the living area of our main floor, I can feel my body relaxing.

As the article states, by helping someone with depression keep clutter at bay, “you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm environment.”

Asking for help is hard. But maybe it’s as simple as tackling clutter. That doesn’t require a mop and pail or a fussy baby or much time. Picking up toys, clearing dishes from the counter, or putting shoes and jackets away are things someone can do for you that can actually help your mental health. It’s a small request with a big reward.

So the next time someone asks how they can help you, try telling them that clearing clutter would go a long way to helping you feel in control.