You Better Believe It
I’m curious about your first thoughts upon reading this article’s title. Have you ever thought about clutter in this context? Do you find it hard to even make the correlation between clutter and your health?
Or maybe you are acutely aware that your health has been affected on many levels due to your clutter. I am guessing that the majority of readers would answer “no” to the first and second questions.
As I’ve traveled the country and spoke on the topic of “Clutternomics,” most people do know they have a clutter problem. Though some are in deep denial, many have thought about doing something about it for years but have not taken action.
Does clutter in your home, yard, office, car or other locations make you feel overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, anxious, or tired? If so, I get it. I used to feel some or all of those feelings. I have to admit, however, that getting serious about letting go of all the clutter can be life changing.
How Clutter Affects Health
Most people are aware that stress is one of the top causes of most diseases. Over time, the stress that comes from your thoughts and responses about your clutter can be adding to the accumulative stress that you experience in life. This makes it a real factor to your health.
What about this response that was shared with me when I posed the question of how clutter affected people: “I tripped over stuff, broke my arm, got a concussion, and lost my phone so I couldn’t call 911.”
How many home accidents have been caused by clutter? I realize that the percentage might be small; however, when it happens, it can and will affect your health.
I also find that most people have a plethora of negative thoughts and conversations about their clutter. It can cause them to feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, resentment, and more.
I love Barbara Levine’s book Your Body Believes Every Word You Say (WordsWork Press, 2000). In it, she explores how our words, ideas, and beliefs have an impact on our health. If you think that your clutter is not having an effect, I hope you will begin to rethink that mindset now.
Too Much Stuff
Many of us are living way beyond our means. We have filled our homes with purchases that may have been paid for with credit cards. Your once-treasured items over time may now be deemed as clutter, especially if you have to make room for more new things. So the act of buying things you can’t afford will begin to affect your health for obvious reasons.
Another major area that affects a person’s health can be what happens to personal relationships over clutter. I often talk with couples who constantly fight over one or the other’s clutter issues. If you haven’t seen George Carlin’s epic and funny routine on “stuff,” it is a must see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac.
As we know, comedy is wrapped in truth and as funny as Carlin’s points on clutter are, it is a serious issue with many families. I’ve met people who choose divorce due to the major differences on this topic in their home.
Any time you have people sharing a space and they are not of the same living style, there is going to be tension, fights, arguments, sleepless nights, doing the blame game, and chipping away at a person’s self-esteem and more.
All of these differences between people result in assaults on health. You can be sure that your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are the targets.
Plethora of Products
Another area of clutter that few ever consider is the “product” clutter in your home. Let’s just look at the daily products that are stored in our bathrooms. Given that your skin is your largest organ and the body soaks in every single chemical-packed product, the health ramification can be many over the years.
Sadly, most of the daily products we use have some 70 to 120 toxins in them, which means that product clutter is affecting our health in ways that we also might not have considered.1
After being diagnosed with cancer twice, I got serious about eliminating those type of items from my home. If you are interested, you may want to read the book, The Healthy Home, Simple Truths to Protect Your Family from Hidden Household Dangers (Vanguard Press, 2011). The information will help you and your family live a much healthier and longer life.
If you came to this article and your answer to the title question was one that reflected that clutter had no effect on your health, I hope you have a new perspective now, one that realizes clutter can affect your health on a number of levels.
Let it go now. Your health, heart, family, and friends will thank you.