Wellness in The Home: How Clutter Makes You Sick

It is safe to say that most people understand that “junk” food is aptly named.  So let’s think for just a few minutes about how this correlates with the “junk” or “clutter” in our homes.

When clutter overtakes an area in our homes, it often leads to an unhealthy physical atmosphere which spills over and negatively affects our family relationships.  It’s the same way a  diet consisting heavily on fast and processed foods leads to poor health.

When clutter abounds, dust builds up because cleaning becomes almost impossible. I have seen bathrooms where there is so much clutter build-up that the shower is unusable, and at the same time, the mold and mildew build-up goes unchecked because it can’t be seen.

Clutter itself is nothing more than goods that are no longer serving a purpose.

We often hang onto these items out of fear. Fear that we will need this item one day, fear that we will be unable to purchase or find it should we need it, or fear that one day someone we know might need it.

Is there anything in God’s Word that addresses this problem?

God is very clear that our hearts and hands must continually be open to give generously. In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

When we are challenged to be generous and/or release things, our physical spaces get dammed up and unable to flow, much like when junk food dams up the flow within our own bodies. We are what we eat, and in much the same way, we are greatly affected by how much stuff we keep. If we live in a messy, cluttered environment, it will eventually manifest in our minds and bodies.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper, and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” The original Hebrew for “generous” means “blessing.” The word “refresh” is taken from “to water.” If we choose to let water flow from us out of a generous and blessed soul, then the refreshing water will flow to us in return.

Clutter Affects Your Health

Dr. Susan Lark started several years ago that the German word for clutter is clobber or another word for a clot. When blood is stagnant, clots develop, restricting blood flow—chronic stagnation results in cysts, lumps, and tumors. When the liver is stagnant or stuck in its ability to process chemicals, toxins, nutrients, or hormones, you end up with a poorly functioning detoxification system resulting in a mental fog, constant fatigue, headaches, and emotional turmoil. Depending on where the clot is, it can have grave consequences. The clutter within our homes can also have dire consequences on the health of our environment.

In my organizing assessment session with clients, the first thing we discuss is that the process of organizing must begin with the examination of the excess or what is causing the dysfunction of the room. Creating a vision for the area and making a criteria list of what will stay and what will go is essential for any success. If our stream of water, representing our minds and spaces, is damned up, the water will stagnate and become unhealthy. Some examples of things that could dam up our minds, like a rock, might be that we are not trusting God to provide for our daily needs, or maybe we are holding onto our possessions in hopes that they might be needed someday. Living with a new mindset of giving, letting go of instead of keeping for a “just in case” day results in a new flow of generosity of heart.

Every room in our homes has special meaning, and when clutter abounds, the joy that each room has the potential to bring can be paralyzed and replaced with stress and anxiety.

Restoring each of these rooms’ mental, emotional, and spiritual health can become realized when we understand that controlling our stuff rather than our stuff controlling us is key to our health.

Clutter in the Kitchen

More than just “Cooking Central,” the kitchen is truly the “heart of the home,” and with good reason. Here, we are nourished and provided for. Life’s decisions are often made around the kitchen table, and family and friends foster their relationships here. An untidy and disorganized kitchen makes it hard to nourish anybody on both the physical and spiritual levels. De-cluttering our kitchens open up space for us to receive the support and comfort that we need in life. When the kitchen fosters that kind of support, life decisions can be made with clarity and confidence, and relationships thrive.

Clutter in the Family Room

Whether we are watching TV with our family, engaging in games, or conversing with friends, the time spent within these walls can produce lasting memories, especially during holidays and celebrations. Clutter can turn these potential social spaces into dens of isolation, especially if the area is so clutter-filled that it has been ages since you’ve invited people over.

Clutter in the Hallways

Hallways are the arteries and highways of our homes. Think of clutter in our hallways as a traffic jam that prevents important connections between our home and life. Is that path through the hallway well-lit and easily navigable, or are we tripping as we walk? As simple as it sounds, clearing the hallways will help you enjoy your life with greater vitality and energy.

Clutter in the Bathroom

Every day we use this room to ready ourselves for the world. Clutter in the bathroom can indicate a devaluation of self-worth, a lack of attention to self beyond the physical. But a clean, well-planned bathroom can become a tranquil sanctuary for rejuvenation and self-care.

Clutter in the Closets

Closets represent things that are hidden, unknown, or unrecognized. When we fill our closets with clutter, we stifle our ability to be intuitive. Cluttered closets can indicate issues that we may not be consciously aware of but impede our progress through life, work and relationships. Keeping the closet door closed is not an effective solution. We should keep only those items in them we truly love.

Clutter in the Attic and Basement

A cluttered attic creates a feeling of being under pressure. It’s hard to feel optimistic about the future when there’s so much stuff “hanging over our heads.” Meanwhile, the basement represents the foundation of your home, so getting the clutter cleared from here is imperative for a healthy and happy life.

Clutter in Your Garage

Our cars are a symbol of our mobility, independence, and ability to be in control. If there is so much stuff piled up in the garage that we can’t fit a car in there, we may be cautious moving forward in life as well. However, a well-organized garage will help propel you in the right direction.

Here are 3 items of action you may want to adopt as you begin this new cleansing clutter journey:

  1. I will be more intentional about purchases I make. I will decide before shopping what I really need and continue enhancing my lifestyle in the future.
  2. I will recognize that my environment is a reflection of my internal struggles. As I de-clutter the outside, I will be aware of how I am de-cluttering the inside.
  3. Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. Make the decision today to be faithful to your commitment to simplify and organize.
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