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Declutter Your Home To Improve Your Health.

Hoarding is a mental disorder- a psychological problem that knows no gender, economic status, or social standing. It can affect anyone and everyone, while being hard to beat. I might sound rude, but this disorder fascinates me. My grandparents lived through the depression, and always cautioned me to keep everything. Hoarding is that mindset times one million. Let’s learn more, with this contribution from freelance writer, Cassandra Lamar, about how they can declutter to improve their physical health and mental well-being:

91% of Canadians feel that clutter is having a negative effect on their life and research has found that the average person spends a massive 12 weeks every year just looking for stuff that they’ve lost. While clutter has not officially been acknowledged as a psychological problem, up to 6% of the population has been diagnosed with hoarding disorder. Both present similar psychological and physical health problems, so getting rid of your clutter can be just what you need to lead a healthy life and have a manageable home.

The psychological effects of clutter

Hoarding has a strong link to various mental health problems, both as a cause for hoarding and as a result. In particular, anxiety, stress, and depression are prominent. Stress is caused by essentially having visual stimulation overload, which the brain interprets as having an endless list of things to do, resulting in guilt, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety and stress are a slippery slope to depression, particularly when the clutter isn’t being dealt with, which means your feelings aren’t being dealt with either.

The physical health problems

Hoarding items and having a lot of clutter in your home can cause you to overeat and put on weight. A 2017 Australian-U.S study looked into this with an experimental kitchen and students from Cornell University as participants. The students who entered a chaotic kitchen ate twice as many cookies on offer than those who entered a standard, non-chaotic kitchen. They believe this is because the students felt they had less self-control. Eating more can obviously lead to weight gain, which is associated with a higher risk of many illnesses. Hoarding is also likely to lead to an increased risk of falls, poor air quality, pest infestations, mold growth, and other sanitation issues that can be a health risk.

Working from home in clutter

Working from home is growing in popularity, but it often means having even more stuff in your home, such as equipment, electronics or stock ready to sell. This is a massive fire risk, and there’s also an increased risk of trips and falls, both of which can result in you losing your income. Getting rid of all the things you don’t need and organizing your home will not only make it a safer environment to work from, but it can help you to remove the mental clutter too. Research from the University of Toronto found a link between mental clutter and age-related memory loss, which has been backed up by other research.

Decluttering and getting out of a hoarding mentality can be difficult, but you may find that once you start you’ll actually enjoy getting rid of the things you no longer have a use for. Physically and psychologically you’ll benefit too, which can further help to motivate you to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

-Cassandra Lamar

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