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Rebalance Life

What Happens to Your Brain When You Have Clutter?

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It’s 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, sweat is dripping from my forehead as I gingerly remove the smelly trash, piece by piece, from the big garbage bin in the garage. After frantically searching for my car keys for at least an hour, the trash bin is my last resort. Why are my keys lost? Because, clutter.

That’s right. Somehow, some way, I had tossed my car keys into the trash and they had been carried out to our big trash bin. Luckily, I found them – at the very bottom of the receptacle.

Sadly, that’s not the first time I’ve thrown something away. Once, overwhelmed with clutter, I managed to toss a brand new pair of shoes that were still in the bag. Apparently, I was cleaning up like a mad woman and threw them out with other bags of trash.

Luckily, I found the car keys before trash pick-up day. My new shoes? They did not fare as well.

Do you struggle with clutter? So many of us do. But what you may not realize, is that not only does clutter make it hard to find things, but clutter affects your mind and body.

It’s true. And once you read this, you may be inspired to get rid of your clutter once and for all.

How Clutter Makes You Feel

How do you feel when you walk into your home at the end of the day? Is your home your sanctuary? Do you feel peaceful and glad to be at home?

Or, do you feel anxious and stressed because there is a heap of unfolded laundry on the sofa, a stack of bills piled on the counter and a sink full of dirty dishes?

Research shows that clutter affects your mind, both at home and at work. Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorder can trip us up, reducing our memory and ability to focus.

Disorganization and clutter signify there is something out of balance. Having clutter is common for a lot of people.

The solution? Learning what is creating the unbalance and determining how to set it straight.

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Clutter Creates More Chaos

Let’s face it, living in a cluttered home is stressful for everyone. And don’t we have enough stress as it is?

Maybe you’re constantly pulled from what you’re doing to help someone find his or her homework. Or you’re late for work (again) because you can’t find your cell phone. The pressure to find your lost things mounts, and so does the tension. Before you know it, somebody snaps.

Think about how you feel when you have misplaced something. For me, it’s anger. But it could be fear or frustration that gets to you. You may criticize yourself for being careless. You might want to throw up your hands in despair.

When your child comes in to ask a question, you may respond in a terse manner – then feelings get hurt. It’s happened around here plenty of times. Decluttering and organizing at home can help resolve this problem.

Clutter Zaps Your Energy

Clutter drains you. It overwhelms. When I look at clutter, it literally sucks the energy right out of me.

But by taking it in small steps, it’s a lot more manageable. It provides a sense of calm and can actually inspire you to keep decluttering.

Need extra help? Try the Decluttering Journal on Amazon.

Clutter Can Make You Sick

It might sound crazy, but clutter could be making you sick physically. Yes, it sounds gross, but clutter can be the breeding ground for germs, dust, mold and mildew.

It could even hide a problem with mice. At the very least, the stress from clutter can impact your health negatively. After all, stress can lead to high blood pressure and other disease.

Clutter Can Make You Heavier

Clutter can also affect your body weight. According to some health professionals, your clutter may increase stress levels that lead to unhealthy eating and weight gain.

White minimalist background with white desk and beige chair.

Where Do You Start With Decluttering?

Okay. Now you know the impact of clutter, and you want to start clearing it. But where do you start?

It’s an overwhelming thought. As you go through items, begin by asking yourself three questions to help you gauge what you will keep and what you will let go

3 Questions for Decluttering Items

Do I use it? If you actually use it, then keep it. But if you haven’t used it in a long time, it may be time to let it go.

Kitchen appliances, dishes, clothes, knick-knacks are all examples of things we hang on to when we don’t actually use them. If you haven’t used them in quite a while, say goodbye.

Do I need it? There are some things that you may not use often, but you need them. I never rarely use my pasta maker. But, my husband love bierocks.

My pasta maker is necessary to make the bierocks the way his mom makes them. Bless it. It must stay.

So if you have something like that, which you don’t use a lot but you need, then by all means, keep it.

Do I love it? Some things don’t fall into either of the above categories. Some things, well, you just love them.

You love them regardless of if you use them or need them. It might be your child’s first baby blanket. The first Valentine’s Day card from your significant other. Your journal from English your Freshman year. Whatever. If you love it. Keep it.

So now that you understand some of the ways clutter can affect your mind and body, what will you do about it?

You can take a step forward and begin decluttering. Or you can let it continue to rule your life.

Hopefully, you choose the first option. Choose peace. Choose sanity.

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