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Health Benefits of De-cluttering
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Apr 06, 2009
For the past several days, my wife Margaret and I have been going through our home, room by room, and de-cluttering like mad.
Though we've never been ones to accumulate a bunch of knick knacks or expensive toys, with two little boys demanding most of our attention over the past few years, we recently realized that a serious spring cleaning job was in order.
We ended up donating several boxes of books to our public library.
We also took at least a dozen large bags of baby clothes and a variety of miscellaneous items to our local Goodwill store.
What sorts of miscellaneous items? You know, things that you intend to use someday, but that haven't come out of the closet for years.
We're just about finished with our ginormous cleaning spree; all that's left is a little storage room in our basement, which definitely won't be a walk in the park.
But let me tell you, it feels amazingly good to know that there's very little in our home right now that we aren't making good use of.
If your living or work spaces have accumulated some unnecessary items - things that you don't truly need - I encourage you to think about going on a cleaning and donating field day (or week) of your own.
There are actually a number of published studies that demonstrate a strong link between a build up of clutter and risk of developing a variety of health challenges.
A resistance to de-cluttering is usually called "hoarding" in medical literature, and my understanding is that this is a real clinical condition that can significantly decrease quality of life for the hoarder, and for those who live with the hoarder.
If you're serious about de-cluttering and want some guidance, here's how I'd recommend that you go about it:
Use four separate bags or boxes to categorize the following groups of items:
To donate to a local goodwill or salvation army store.
To donate to a local public library.
To throw out with the garbage or to take to the dump.
When sorting through your stuff, if you're not sure if an item should go or stay, ask yourself if you've used it within the past six months. If the answer is no, then you might strongly consider letting it go and making more space to breathe and enjoy a clutter-free life.
Beyond the feelings of freedom and peace that come with de-cluttering is the relief of knowing that should you move in the near future, you'll be seventy steps ahead of the game when it comes time to pack and haul.
Another benefit - not a pleasant one for most to think about - is this: should we pass on unexpectedly, keeping a de-cluttered home is a huge gift that we'll be leaving our loved ones who will be left to sort through our things - this can be extraordinarily helpful during a tragic time for our families.
If this post inspires you to turn your living or work spaces into pristine, open areas that are free of unnecessary items, or if you have any tips or experiences on de-cluttering, I'd appreciate you sharing in the comments section below. Thank you.
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