Mum whose house became 'dumping ground' due to depression completes DIY makeover

There’s a cruel irony in the way that having a bad time mentally makes tidying feel impossible… but living in a messy room makes you feel worse.

We know that giving our living space a good clean will likely make us feel better in the long run, but it’s tough to remember that at the start of the process, when we’re confronted by piles of clutter.

So here’s a reminder of why it’s worth the bother, in the hope that someone else’s story might help motivate you when the mess feels insurmountable.

Single mum Bex Kitchen, 25, was struggling with her mental wellbeing, having suffered with depression and anxiety for years.

The struggle of handling mental illness while working and raising a four-year-old alone meant Bex’s home became a ‘dumping ground’, and she simply didn’t have the energy to give it a good tidy.

But in lockdown and on furlough, Bex decided to take advantage of the extra time on her hands, as well as a lift in her mood, to sort out her home.

Bex told LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘I just really wanted to create a calm, jungle-themed bedroom. I am a single mum. I have a four-year-old and have wanted a second child for a really long time, so I’m considering adopting.

‘However, for now, I’m just about to apply to Ofsted as a childminder after using lockdown to study childcare from home. This room will be where any minded babies I look after take their naps.

‘I’m autistic with anxiety and I’ve suffered from depression for a long time so the room ended up being a dumping ground and I didn’t have the energy or executive functioning to deal with it.

‘Now I’m coming out of depression, I want to get my life on track, especially as my fiancé left me in January, so I just decided one day it was now or never to take control of my life and that includes making my home somewhere I can truly enjoy and relax in.’

Bex spent just £170 transforming the cluttered space in her home into a peaceful room for the kids she childminds, with a subtle jungle theme.

She was able to save cash by using some laminate flooring she had from a previous home, that had sat in the garage unused for two years, and looking out for bargains from Ikea and Hobbycraft.

‘So I only paid out £32.48 on tools and underlay for the floor,’ says the mum. ‘The cot was from when my son was a baby, and so was the bedding and curtains.

‘The drawers are Nordli from Ikea, the Kallax is from Ikea, the rug was Toftland and cost £7 from Ikea, and the trolley was £28 from Hobbycraft.

“The handmade clock was made by Emma Steel in Spalding who runs LightArtedly, the watercolour prints were from LauraSladeArt, the canvas map was from The Range and the embroidery hoop was from Rosie Wild at Phoenix and the Cub.

‘I’m a big believer of supporting small businesses so that’s what I’ve tried to do! Overall, if you add up all the furniture, flooring and art it was about £170 that I’ve spent this year on the room.’

Bex made the DIY project manageable by starting to declutter little by little a month ago, then doing one big day of tidying last week, when she had a surge in energy.

She says that the end result, as well as the journey of decluttering, has given her a mental health boost in a challenging time.

Bex added: ‘Decluttering was the hardest part but I had to be ruthless and throw out 70% of what was in the room,” she adds.

‘I think this project has given me something to focus on during lockdown and also improved my mental health.

‘Poor mental health can contribute to a messy house and then a messy house makes your mental health worse, in a vicious cycle.

‘So clearing up even just one room has made a big difference to my mood! Every time I walk past the room I smile.

‘Now that room is done, I feel energised to transform the rest of the house and so relieved too. It’s my favourite room in the house now.’

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