In this post, I discuss the research behind clutter and your weight! That’s right! Your junk drawer may be contributing to the junk in your trunk. To summarize the studies, we have linked cluttered spaces to overeating and binging, increase in stress hormones and abdominal fat, and the inhibition of fat burning mechanisms. To help you avoid the misfortune of the ill-effects of a cluttered environment, I provide you with my proven 5-step method (5x5 Decluttering Method) for creating a home that is peaceful, productive, and inviting. You don’t want to miss the many jewels in this post!
Welcome back my fellow lifestyle enthusiasts. If you are new, I’m Linné and to say that I’m obsessed with all things lifestyle and how they impact your overall health, is an understatement. As a physician and a researcher, my goal is to provide you simple tactics to improve your lifestyle and thus improve your health and well-being.
And boy am I excited about today's post. Today we unleash my favorite topic that not everyone links to health and wellness. I want to talk about clutter and how it impacts your weight. That’s right. Your junk drawer may be contributing to the junk in your trunk. Listen, I already know that this statement is a bit crazy but stick with me...I think you’ll find the connection to be fascinating. And don’t miss out on the freebie I have for you at the end!
And, by the way, if you are a lifestyle enthusiast and obsessed with all things health, then click that subscribe button, give this post a thumbs up and hang on because I get super nerdy when it comes to decluttering.
With the recent release of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up series on Netflix, people all over the united states have been clearing out their homes in search of more joy. So much so that the donation centers across the nation are experiencing a record-breaking overload of inventory. So, if you are a Goodwill junkie, you are living the dream. Have you ever wondered if there is science behind why decluttering is a good idea? Did you know that the state of your home can contribute to your overall health and even your current weight? Did you know that professional organizer, Peter Walsh, author of ‘Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight’, says that people with cluttered homes are 77% likely to be overweight or obese. This really is the missing link from the discussion of minimalism or the decluttering process. It is so much more than having a clean space. It really is about your health.
Many of you are familiar with my stroke scare and how it led me to make drastic changes in my health, home environment, and the pursuit of more happiness. But what you may not know is that through my difficult circumstance and hospitalization, this led to researching ways to simplify my environment and to declutter my home. The process of decluttering led to further researching ways to improve my health and the last 20 pounds slowly came off. What I did not realize until years later was that research has proven that our environment has a dramatic effect on our overall health and well-being; that a decluttered space can often become the catalyst for healthy changes in one’s life. In today's' post, I want to discuss specifically how a clear space can affect your waistline.
You don’t have to be a hoarder to accumulate clutter and it can come in many different forms. But have you ever watched the show Hoarders and noticed that often, they are overweight or obese?
Based on multiple research studies here are the key findings regarding clutter and your health:
So to summarize the studies, we have linked cluttered spaces to overeating and binging, increase in stress hormones and abdominal fat, and the inhibition of fat burning mechanisms.
Now that we know that our clutter an influence our waistline, how do we get started? Over the years I have developed my own method for clearing out my home. It is the method that I teach in my Lifestyle Design Experience as part of the 5x5 Decluttering Method. I have curated the best tips from top minimizing gurus and have found that this 5 step method, using some of the best cognitive science approach, has helped me to clear out my entire home not once; but, three times. Of course, I stand on the shoulders of decluttering giants before me so I have to give these folks credit for inspiring the method I use and have listed my favorite gurus and their books or websites at the bottom of this post, for you review. I use this 5x5 guide as part of my decluttering maintenance method as well. In fact, you can grab my guide that describes my method in detail, in the link, HERE! Here is a summary of that method.
After you have decluttered each of the categories, you can maintain your process by scheduling time each year to repeat the steps above as your taste and lifestyle changes. This is not a one and done process. While each time it will be easier and more time-efficient, the key is to re-evaluate your possessions on a regular basis. This will keep you living in your most intentional spaces that represent “you” of today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Because you are changing, your home should change with you. As your tastes change, so should your home. Remember when mauve and seafoam green were the colors that every home in the late ’80s needed to have? Oh, the tragedy of 80’s trends. Yeah, today is a different day and you are a different person. While I still have a strange affection for leg warmers, you can bet that mauve is nowhere on my walls, carpets, or countertops.
I’ll bet you’re a little bit like me: you like to learn new information; but, you’re not sure where to start (and how much you will actually do). The two biggest mistakes I see people make when it comes to decluttering is either not getting started or trying to organize before they downsize. Listen, it took me a year to fully declutter my home and organize it the way that would make my heart sing. You don’t need to overhaul your entire house in a weekend. While it does benefit you to declutter your entire home, you could do this over a week if you are super ambitious, a month, a quarter, or a year. It’s not the timeline that matters as much as the momentum. So, do me a favor. Start with the area of your home that you use most frequently. This could be your kitchen, your den, your office, your entryway, your dining table. Just pick one area. Use this ONE choice as your monthly challenge this month! Chances are that the joy and peace you receive from this one area will create the motivation and momentum you need to keep going.
The good news is that I have some resources to help you get started. If you need a community to join, head on over to the Journey Toward Joy FB Group. You can also be on the lookout for my monthly masterclass called, “Lifestyle Design Experience” helping you to 10x your health and wellness by improving every aspect of your lifestyle! This class is designed to link you with like-minded individuals. If you need help with your mindset, check out my MINDSET MASTERCLASS HERE. I’ve attached a FREE pdf of my home decluttering method that I used back in 2009 to completely change my life (and my weight). This is the 17-page cliff note version of the dozens of books I read and methods I used to simplify my home and create the spaces that I love. Grab your 5x5 Decluttering Guide HERE.
If you have made it through the post this far, I want to commend you, my friend. I know you can do this. Truly, like working out first thing in the morning, getting started is the hardest part. But once you do, I know you will feel better. I’m here for you, cheering you along the way. I would love to hear about your decluttering experiences so please leave a comment below and tell us what one area is your Achilles heel at the moment. For me, I will be tackling sentimental items. I have an entire bin full of papers, report cards, stuffed animals, etc. from my childhood that needs to be reviewed and refreshed. Don’t forget to give this post a thumbs up if you found it beneficial, share it with your friends who are trying to declutter their homes, and subscribe for more posts like this to help you achieve optimum vibrancy and vitality!
And, as always, strive to supercharge your health by simplifying your lifestyle so you can satisfy that lovely soul of yours!
In the next post, we will be discussing the studies linking clutter-free environments to your overall health and wellbeing, not just your pant size!
Until the next post my friend,
Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., Susan. “5 Reasons to Clear the Clutter”, Psychology Today, May 2017
“Cutting through the Clutter: What Research Says about Tidying Up”, Journalist’s Resource, February 2019
Saxbe, Darby E.; Repetti, Rena. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2010.
Timpano KR et al. “Consideration of the BDNF gene in relation to two phenotypes: Hoarding and obesity”. J Abnorm Psychol 2011 Jun 13; [e-pub ahead of print]. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024159)
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE MANY RESOURCES THAT INSPIRED THE 5X5 DECLUTTERING METHOD:
Alejandra Costello (www.alejandra.tv)
Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Spark Joy)
Greg McKowen (Essentialism)
The Minimalists (www.theminimalisits.com)
Courtney Carver (Soulful Simplicity)
Fay Wolf (New Order)
Ruth Soukup (Unstuffed)
Francine Jay (The Joy of Less)
Joshua Becker (The More of Less)
Be a Johnson (Zero Waste Home)
Peter Walsh (Lose the Clutter Lose the Weight)
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