Feeling stuck? Guilty? Overwhelmed? Try clearing these feelings out of your home

Feeling stuck? Guilty? Overwhelmed? Try clearing these feelings out of your home

via TED Ideas by Ingrid Fetell Lee

True confession: Next to my bed I have a little bit of guilt.

It comes in the form of a notebook I purchased to capture my baby’s first months. I had grand plans of logging notes about every “first” as a way to capture those moments which slip by so quickly. But amidst getting my bearings as a pandemic parent, it was hard to keep up with it  and it’s sat unopened for months. What started out joyful has turned into a source of guilt for me, one I confront every time I get in and out of bed.

Along with clutter, our emotional baggage can get stored in our homes — often in plain sight — and clearing it out of our homes can help us feel more positivity and ease.

Stuck-ness, guilt, shame, overwhelm, anxiety, regret: These feelings can take up residence in our homes without us realizing. And while all feelings have a purpose, dwelling on (or with) them when we’re not actively processing them can weigh us down. Even if we just glance at something once a day, that means we’re confronted with that feeling 30 times a month! And we’re not acting on it or learning from it — it’s just sapping our energy and our joy.

With this in mind, I thought I’d zoom in on some of the most common negative feelings that hide out in our homes and share ways to spot them so you can clear them out. It’s not quite as easy as lighting a candle, but here’s hoping this helps you feel a sense of freedom.


There’s a feeling that doesn’t exactly have a name, but it’s one that I know a lot of people have been feeling due to the pandemic. For lack of a better term, let’s call it stuck-ness.

It’s essentially a feeling that life is on hold, that you’re not making the progress you’d like to in some part of your life. It often happens when we’re waiting for something in our lives to change, whether we’re ready to find a partner but are struggling to meet the right person, or we’ve hit a plateau in our career, or there’s a global pandemic and we’re waiting for case numbers to finally drop so we can get back to traveling, socializing, working and enjoying life.

Feeling stuck can sometimes make us reluctant to invest energy in our space, which results in spaces that are unfinished or undecorated. We hesitate to decorate the rental apartment, thinking we’ll wait until we buy a home. When I was struggling with infertility, I put off decorating my bedroom, telling myself that I didn’t want to go to all the trouble if we were just going to have to move when I got pregnant.

The problem is that living in temporary conditions serves as a chronic reminder of our stuck-ness, and we never know how long the waiting will last. Three years of waking up in a bedroom with blank walls just amplified my sense of stasis, that it wasn’t just my dream of having a child but my whole life that was on hold.

When we commit to our present homes, we also commit to our present lives. We can hold our future hopes more gently knowing that our entire happiness doesn’t depend on them. We can trust that joy will come in the future, while also creating space for it in the here and now.

Where to look for stuck-ness in your home:
Spaces that are unfinished or undecorated
Art propped up against the walls that hasn’t been framed or hung
Things you have been saving for a future life that you might enjoy right now (e.g. fancy dishes, family heirlooms)
Styles or objects that you feel you’ve outgrown …

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