Decluttering is Good for the Health
In this episode, Dr. Oz shows how clutter can affect your health. He invited psychiatrist Dr. Melva Green, and organizational expert Jill Pollock to help him explain how physical clutter can symbolize the emotional turmoil that a person may be experiencing. Together they share organizing secrets that will transform one’s life.
If you wonder how your life has gotten so cluttered, you would also notice that your stress level is high. Your health goes out of control when you are cluttered. So, it is time to clear out the clutter in your home and in your room to feel good again.
Dr. Green is co-author of the book “Breathing Room” where she emphasizes the connection between clutter and health. She explains that people often don’t make that connection—that our physical clutter is a symbolism. It signifies that there is a lot of internal clutter. On top of that, when we look at all the clutter, our brains are bombarded with a message that the work is never done. When there is constant clutter, we are just continually being overwhelmed not only emotionally, but also physiologically. We are all aware that stress causes depression, anxiety, and headaches. Now, stress is also connected to obesity and all other sorts of physical ailments. So, clutter is a real huge issue and very relevant today.
Jill Pollock explains why it’s so easy for our things to get cluttered. Life is always busy and everyone has tons of activities. We go to school, we go to work, and we have social activities. And so, things pile up. Days become weeks, and weeks become months. All of a sudden, we find ourselves sitting amidst a pile of clutter. And the clutter can be upsetting.
Step 1. Inventory
So, the first step to deal with clutter is to sit and pause, and assess your stuff. Take inventory of what you have, for example distinguish what you need from what you want, because there’s so little that we really need. It is important to change people’s life from the inside out. But when we are dealing with clutter, we are dealing with people’s lives from the outside in. You are making some changes by taking this thought into account: A place for everything and everything in its place.
Step 2. Konmari Method
There are two clutter hotspots in the home.
A. The first one is the closet. One of the viewers volunteered her friend’s problem with clutter. She badly needs help with organizing her things. She wears the same four shirts every time because she cannot find anything in her mess.
Dr. Green explains that to solve many clutter issues, the Konmari method is very helpful and practical. This is a Japanese system of thought where you clear out your clutter based on what brings you joy or what sparks joy in you. It’s not a thinking kind of joy. It’s really a feeling that makes you connect with your stuff when you touch it. So, when you touch and feel your things, you ask the questions, “Does this bring me joy?” Then you let your heart tell you. This is the “joy test” that will help you sort your closet and be clutter-free. When you use the Konmari method, you only get to keep stuff that brings you joy. This helps narrow down your things.
Jill Pollock then adds that to organize your closet, you first have to decide what really brings you joy. And then select what fits, what isn’t ripped or stained. You put these things back, but the rest you can take out of your closet. Second is you organize and divide your wardrobe by color. Third, order your clothes from most used to least used, because you don’t want to rummage around your closet for the thing you want to wear all the time. Fourth, putting things in uniform hangers is also an important tip. You can create more space by using soda tabs to create double hangers. This way you can maximize closet space without the mess.
At this point, Dr. Green demonstrates the Konmari method of folding clothes. Everything is folded in a rectangular way, so it makes things stackable.
B. The second clutter hotspot in the home is the drawer. It is very common for many people to just toss anything inside the drawer, especially mails. And when the drawer is full, we like to cram everything inside. The first thing to do is to stop the mail before it even gets to you. There are online websites that stop the junk mails from coming to your door. Then second, open mails at the recycling bin or near the garbage can. Keep only the mails that you need, but the rest you can toss in the bin. The third tip is, you organize mails by using clothespin. All you need to do is take some clothespin and then label them accordingly: UNPAID, REPLY and URGENT. You might think it is more work, but actually it is less work once you build this routine. One you deal with unwanted mails, you can free your space and your mind from things that are unnecessary. This way, you can focus back on things in life that are necessary.
Important Organizing Tip
Jill Pollock shows the viewers and audience how to organize cleaning products that get cluttered under the sink. The important decluttering tip here is to install a tension rod to organize you cleaners. Just take all those spray bottles that clutter the bottom, and save space by hanging them up in the tension rod under the sink. When you do this, you can clear your mind of at least what is under your sink.
Finally, Dr. Oz asks Dr. Green, “How does clutter increase the chances of being sick?” She explains that clutter increases the risk of being sick because you just continue to get overwhelmed. It continues to pile and you get stressed by the mess. When you live in a messy space, you don’t life a full life, but only a sliver of a life. Concerning the organizing task, it doesn’t have to be perfect, because perfectionism is not the name of the game, and you don’t have to attack clutter. Be gentle with yourself, just accept where you are and start wherever you are.
When you want to deal with clutter, it is about progress and not perfection. Live a transformed life by organizing your clutter. Remember, you can always start wherever you are.
Learn more on how you can Open Your Heart by Decluttering Your Home and get with case studies of people just like you in Breathing Room.