The ever-present junk lurking around, long a source of depression fighting purpose, has got to go.

This Thursday I’m quitting clutter. I recently listened to an interview with Gretchen Rubin where she talked about the positive effects of living a life without stuff laying everywhere (okay, so I paraphrased a little) and it really hit home. I read Gretchen’s book The Happiness Project a couple years ago after I bought it in the Las Vegas airport and I got some great things out of it. I would say my project is forever ongoing but I recognized one mood-lifting tactic that I’ve used in my life before, cleaning up crap that’s lying around.

I have struggled with depression for years. My problems with mood began in college and I’ve tried a slug of drugs and even therapy a time or two. After 30 plus years I’ve decided that I’m ultimately in charge and responsible for my own happiness which was one of the reasons I picked up Gretchen’s book. I wanted to learn about someone else’s pursuit of the elusive “h”. In it and during the recent interview she described doing small things to boost your spirits and get you started in the right direction.

As I said, I’ve concluded that my mood is up to me and when it goes south sometimes in a big way, I’ve learned to recognize the early signs and be proactive. That’s one of the things that the condition deprives you of, a say-so in how you feel. It’s almost like the sleep-related injuries I’m a victim of. Those of you that are older know about these. You go to bed in fine shape and wake up with a pulled hammy. Anyway, I discovered that tidying up, picking up the stuff that seems to appear magically like my mood dips, made me feel more ordered, organized and gave me small “wins” in my day. Sometimes something as benign as folding laundry or sorting through mail makes me feel powerful. Tossing out junk mail is my way of boldly proclaiming, “No! I will not have you re-side my house with vinyl siding.” I am in control, I tell you! Even emptying the dishwasher clears my mind and gives me a purpose I need to hopefully pull out of the beginning of a decline into crudville.

So maybe you’re saying “Wait, if you stop living a cluttered life won’t you lose a valuable tool in the depression fighting arsenal?” Well, that’s where my wife and kids come into the picture. I’m not throwing them under the bus but they’re not riding along on the quitting train just yet so there’s no danger of losing opportunities. Plus, by eliminating clutter and the mess that so often makes our house a “pit” (my wife’s favorite term) I just may score big points with the missus, something I can never have enough of in this life. I know that having things cleaner can also make me feel better about my adulating skills in the long run too.

So there it is, I’m quitting clutter. Maybe now I can find my car keys, cell phone, wallet (the list goes on and on) more easily from here on out. Wish me luck.

I’m sure you have all kinds of clutter that were it cleaned up or removed you would feel better. I’m interested. What part or area of your house or office, if you de-cluttered it, would make you feel better?