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Clutter and Depression

Clutter and Your Health
Most experts agree that getting organized is good for your health. “People don’t eat well because their kitchen isn’t functional, and they don’t sleep well because their beds are piled with stuff,” noted Lynne Johnson, a professional organizer from Quincy, Mass., who is president of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. “I don’t see chronic disorganization ever becoming a medical diagnosis, but it is a contributing factor to noncompliance to taking meds and keeping appointments and being able to do exercise and eat well and all those things that so contribute to having a healthy life.”

Clutter and disorganization impair productivity and are time-consuming–often resulting in decreased feelings of well-being. Even on the simplest levels. For instance, I know that on the mornings when we can’t find my daughter’s specific pair of Mary-Janes required for the day, we will spend too long hunting, be late leaving for school, and what should have been a leisurely look-at-that-cute-fuzzy-squirrel walk turns into a come-on-come-on-zippity-do-dah-we’re-going-to-be-late walk. That’s not fun, and I know that because I was sloppy with the shoes, I lost out on a nice experience with my kids. The sheer stress of a cluttered life means we may miss deadlines, work longer hours, and lose important stuff.

One last tidbit from The New York Times article: Many experts say that too often people approach clutter and disorganization as a space problem that can be solved by acquiring bins and organizers. Measures like these “are based on the concept that this is a house problem,” said David F. Tolin, director of the anxiety disorders center at the Institute of Living in Hartford and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Yale. “It isn’t a house problem,” he went on. “It’s a person problem. The person needs to fundamentally change their behavior.”

If clutter’s getting you down, or if being down is making you clutter, read:
Start to Stop the Clutter
Declutter Your Way to Peace and Beauty

Read more: Feng Shui & Organizing, Health, Home, Mental Wellness, , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

150 comments

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11:28PM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

My mother used to get angry when she entered my messy room. I didn't understand why. Now I feel claustrophobic when things aren't put away. Funny how that inheritance crept up on me. Decluttering takes time, but the sanity is worth it.

2:53AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

It is overwelming to have clutter. Sometimes you have a tough time knowing where to start.

11:27PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Thanks.

7:16PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

I have clutter only because I do other things and I don't want to clean up.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

My living space is not large and there is what some would say...clutter... around. Since it is not hoarding and there are not clothes, papers, boxes and what not all over the floor...I just live with it as I know where most things are.

As long as a home is kept clean and fairly organized then live with what one is happy with.

If one finds things overwhelming if in a mood to clear things then tackle a small portion at a time especially if living with clinical depression.

Have a lot of knick knacks around, little treasures like small wooden boxes, a batch of milkweed seeds and colourful red leaves along with tiny geodes, pussy willows to name but a few.

The floor is kept clear and my blind cat easily navigates around with her whiskers and enjoys the pot of catnip that is placed by her tree stand (she no longer climbs it but the visiting kitties love it). Both of us are cozy in our cluttered albeit kept neat and tidy atmosphere.

5:05AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Interesting article , but sometimes clutter cannot be avoided due to lack of space!

4:01AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

gr8, thx

5:47AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

thanks

7:42PM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

It's difficult to get rid of stuff. Things come and go. It is as if nothing has changed. The hardest part is to sort between the multiple little things we collect and put everywhere. They spread like a contagious disease, and that is awful.

12:33PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

noted

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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