How Decluttering Can Make You Healthier

    Netflix's hit show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” became a huge hit in 2019 and inspired the lives of many in making transformative changes to their living spaces. Busy bees learned it is possible to still make the household manageable despite the conundrums in their daily hustles. Many gained creativity, innovativeness and inspiration from various cases Kondo was confronted with. From helping a couple live a hurried life or showing grandpa and grandma how to tidy things up and reclaim their space, Kondo has been lauded for ultimately setting the bar in decluttering.

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    Clutter clearing while doing it with joy and fulfillment, as she has shown, is the only way to go about it. From the television show, here are a few takeaways:

    1. In your decluttering journey, it can only be successful if you fully commit yourself to the process.
    2. Know that the road to decluttering can take an entire week but if you can derive motivation from seeing yourself living your ideal lifestyle, you will be able to achieve your goals.
    3. To be logical, throw and discard things first. Do not save and assess later. The decision question is: does this item spark joy and do I need this often?
    4. In organizing, store things by category and not by location.

    These are all part of the KonMari method. In a nutshell, this method encourages the approach to deal with things objectively as you would have to decide based on an item’s usefulness and purpose. Once you have clearly identified such characteristics of things, you can organize them based on their category. The logic behind this is because homes are also meant to be strategic in such a way that you know exactly where one specific thing and all its kind or types are located so that you can reduce time and effort finding them. Think of the features of a grocery store. Many people claim that grocery shopping has become their own little way of destressing because it is always as if the store makes it easier for everyone to find their needs and just indulge the joy in browsing items even if they do not really intend to buy them. Everything that appears wide, organized and made easy can be pure visual sources of joy. Responses would be different if say the grocery store is not designed with ample lighting, no provision of such huge spaces in between gargantuan shelves, items are not labeled and organized in such a way that facilitates convenient finding and picking. People would just then abandon their carts.

    With solitary confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the availability of time, people saw the need to uplift their homes and pick up the brooms. Social media provided a space where people could share how they have improved their living conditions by remodeling their homes. One of the many styles gaining popularity is minimalism in which one gets rid of the stuff they do not find useful anymore. Make a stockpile of the household items or clothes which you can either discard right up or make money by selling them. This clears up space and hand-me-downs are a sure way to give items a new home and provide other people its benefit. In other words, minimalism is choosing to own fewer possessions. It is the intention to live with only the necessities and essentials so that each item in your homes are purposeful. With lesser, however useful items, in your homes, more so your life, you will be able to highlight only those that matter most. Think of it this way, the less clutter or mess you have in the house, the easier it is to clean, maintain and sustain your humble homes. These things are done not only for aesthetic reasons but more importantly to address impending health issues that can harm the household and its dwellers.

    Sander (2019) mentioned that clutter produces high levels of stress brought by the stress hormone cortisol. As an effect, this could lead to cases of anxiety and depression. In turn, this can affect your productivity levels and even your personal perspective. Additionally, it can also dampen the quality of your sleep. Thacher (2015) made a study on how sleep is compromised because of bedroom clutter. Home or bedroom clutter can interfere with your sleep by filling your mind with unnecessary and uneasy thoughts. In other words, cluttered bedrooms result in poor sleep quality due to mental health stress. Stuff keepers or hoarders also typically experience problems with executive functioning and decision making. This is because poor sleep can be troublesome for one’s cognitive skills and therefore any existing cognitive dysfunction, depression and anxiety will worsen along with poor quality sleep. It is a sad downward spiral.

    On a more serious note, dust and other harmful allergens can fester and accumulate in unorganized and low air quality homes. In decluttering and organizing for health, ventilation plays a major role in preventing build-ups of mold and other fungi. Indoor pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (2018), forms part of the major environmental health concern. This is vouched for by the American Lung Association (2019) which also revealed that indoor air pollution is widespread making it more possible to get sick within the “comforts” of your home than out elsewhere. Therefore, when your indoor air quality is poor. You may be at risk for several symptoms including nasal congestion, throat, mouth and eye irritations, sneezing, wheezing, asthma and other more serious respiratory concerns. Molds that grow and become airborne can put immunocompromised individuals or those with underlying lung diseases at higher risk, even cause fungal infections or experience trouble breathing. Mold thrives in dark, damp, and poorly ventilated places. 

    The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (2018) emphasized that allergies come 6 in list of leading causes of chronic illnesses in the United States costing $18 billion annually and more than 50 million American are suffering from various forms of allergies each year. With these, it is high time to work on decluttering and benefit from its magic so that we can veer away from health issues it can turn us in. When your living space is decluttered and clean, air and life quality will be within reach.

     

    Ellen OrtonAuthor bio: 

    Natasha Barbeyto-Castaño is a beauty, wellness, and lifestyle writer. She took up Fashion Design and Merchandising in college and was hired as a personal shopper for a high-end department store right after graduating. Writing for the beauty and fashion sections of a society magazine and being head of content for a clothing company kept her busy before getting married and having a little boy. She learned to read at the age of 3 and wants her son to grow up sharing the same love for books. Nowadays, this organic wellness nut and attachment parenting advocate balances working from home and being a housewife. She enjoys watching psychological thrillers and foreign-language films with her husband during her free time.


     

     

     

     

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