For a Happier, Healthy Life, Experts Say Get Rid of the Clutter

Posted on Apr 7 2011 - 6:47pm by John Stevens

Clutter has a way of creeping into everyone’s lives.  Piles of paperwork stack up, mounds of books overflow off the bookcase and old shoes crowd closets.  “I buy, therefore I am” is a Western way.  But experts agree clutter is not just an eye sore; it can also be detrimental to one’s health.  Clutter can be a big trigger for stress and can affect peace of mind, especially when coming home to a vision of unsightly chaos.

When clutter becomes overwhelming, it’s a sign of a life that’s not running optimally and of habits that are taking a toll on personal health and well-being, said Sue Stitham a certified professional organizer and certified organizer coach who owns Revamp in Olivebridge, NY. Stress can put a tremendous strain on peoples’ bodies, causing headaches, insomnia, gritting of teeth, body pains, light headedness and even tremors in the lips and hands.  If going home brings stress from unending piles of clutter, people tend to avoid going home. Messes and disorganization can drain a home of positive energy and a feeling of comfort and security. When someone comes home they don’t want to be visually assaulted by clutter that glaringly represents all the tasks that await. Reducing clutter can improve mental well-being.

The journey to a clutter-free environment can bring clarity of mind and a sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a long-overdue task, said Margot Molnar, a professional organizer based in Woodstock, NY. Molnar advises starting with one small area and slowly working up from there.

Sue Story who runs Clutter Busters out of West Shokan, NY said controlling clutter is about behavior modification and the creation of new habits. Clutter, she said, is stuck energy and a deep-rooted clutter problem can go hand in hand with low self-esteem.

Life is stressful enough without having to contend with clutter. A home should be a place of refuge that brings a sense of calm, experts say. The thought of organizing and clearing out clutter can be seen as an overwhelming task for some, but it doesn’t have to be.  Experts suggest following these tips to set up a systemized and well-organized household that is peaceful and relaxing:

• Decide if you want to organize clutter room by room or by type, such as furniture, clothing, books and papers.
• Divide items into what can be donated and what can be thrown away. Often we collect items because we don’t want to throw them away. Donate items to a local thrift store or bring them to a consignment shop and make some money in the process.
• Rent a storage unit. It’s an easy and affordable way to clear out items you can’t part with.
• Add built-in shelving or recessed shelving anywhere there is ample wall space to do so.
• Invest in filing cabinets to organize paperwork and bills.
• Install cabinetry to store books, binders and favorite nick-knacks. Twelve-inch deep shelving should do the trick.
• Consider hiring a closet company to inventory all your clothes, shoes, belts and accessories and arrange them in an organized way.

Sources Used:

Kagan, Wendy. “Less Clutter, More Joy.” Chronogram. April, 2011.

Breckenridge, Mary Beth. “Decluttering Eases Stress and Simplifies a busy Life.” The Vancouver Sun. April 5, 2011.