Clearing the Clutter for Better Health

Clearing the Clutter for Better Health
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The unpredictability of sarcoidosis can make life chaotic, which has made me a bit of a control freak, as my sister found out when we traveled together last year.

After taking in the breathtaking view of Boston Harbor from our hotel window, my burning question was which bed she wanted. Little did she know that upon choosing, she signed away all rights to touch, sit, or put anything on my bed for the duration of the trip.

I feel better when things are neat and orderly — as it turns out, it’s not just my imagination. I discovered that clearing clutter, something I always feel compelled to do when a new year rolls in, has surprising health benefits.   

Recognizing you have a problem

For the most part, I keep my place fairly clutter-free. But it often feels like I’m fighting a losing battle when it comes to paperwork. I’m drowning in it. My drawers always seem to gradually revert to a jumbled mess after I organize them.

To be honest, I’m cheating big-time to keep my place as clutter-free as it is now. Not only am I not fully unpacked from my last move, but my stuffed storage unit has become a place I dread when I need to find something. On a recent Monday morning, as I stood knee-deep in boxes searching for a shoulder bag, and after I had already wasted a weekend looking for a credit card, I vowed to make getting rid of clutter a priority.

The benefits of tidying up

Clutter can cause stress, make it more difficult to focus, and even affect sleep when it rises to the level of hoarding, as the Mayo Clinic notes. While disorderly environments can lead to more creativity, those in orderly rooms tend to make healthier food choices, according to this 2013 study. Left unchecked, clutter can affect mental health and relationships, according to a DePaul University study published in 2016.

The idea that clutter can have negative effects isn’t new. A 2010 study by UCLA’s Center for the Everyday Lives of Families found a correlation between clutter and women’s cortisol levels and moods. In the study, women perceiving their homes as cluttered or unfinished reported less marital satisfaction and greater depression during the day and more fatigue in the evening.

Tackling clutter

To keep your home clutter-free, you need to identify the personality traits that led to your downfall to begin with, according to a recent HuffPost article that provides decluttering advice.

Choosing to spend money on experiences, such as vacations, instead of material possessions can make life happier and less cluttered.

For the time-pressed, the “Rule of Five” decluttering tip offered by HouseLogic.com may be the answer. It’s simple: Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put five things away or devote five minutes each hour to decluttering.

Numerous other news articles, books, and even television shows address the topic of decluttering, so why not give it a try? Research shows that it could benefit your health. 

What are your decluttering tips? Please share in the comments below. 

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Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

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