Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

“Uncluttering” is One Key to Improving Our Mental Health

BookcaseA few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of “purging our stuff” as supportive of our overall health and wellness.  Many of us have collected so many wonderful memories from experiences and interactions with time, travel, friends, and family and from many of these experiences we have gathered mementos.  We look at each item in our collections with smiles and memories.  But sometimes we store our mementos in boxes in the attic, basement, or the garage and soon forget about them as our lives move forward.

Following that column I met with Peggy Braunstein, a professional organizer, who is a regular fan of my columns and my work and we discussed in more depth the importance of clearing out our clutter.  There are as many ways of accomplishing this as our varied experiences, but some avenues of “uncluttering” can be accomplished rather simply that frees us to “breathe more openly again” because we have freed up spaces within our living arrangements.

The most obvious reasons for lightening the load includes downsizing. In our present economy, many empty nest families and senior citizens have begun to seek smaller quarters to save money, simplify their lifestyle, and to open doors for more active involvement in their lives.  Often “stuff” gets in the way as there is just not enough space for all those meaningful mementos.

Another reason may originate from a family member becoming ill and needing to reside with family or in assisted living quarters.  Reassignment of belongings to interested family members may ease such a transition.

Perhaps a person is so busy they just don’t have to the time to organize.  There is no shame in this as many of us are multitasking every day.  With single parenthood, active kids in sports and music, and the daily chores of life cataloguing one’s memories just doesn’t get accomplished leading to “stuff” piling up.

Another major reason for regaining control over one’s belongs comes in the form of hoarding.  Multiple psychological reasons may be the underpinnings of a person’s need to “keep everything” and this behavior pattern may require professional psychological support to understand and overcome or at least manage in a meaningful way.  Even a little repurposing or reducing such possessions may become a catalyst for positive and healthy change.

My friend Peggy as a professional organizer works with all types of situations with families and individuals to bring “order out of chaos.”  She shared with me how much fun it can be when it becomes a shared experience.  Oftentimes just taking pictures of our things, writing stories about our experiences and memories of them enables us to let them go.  In this way, we perhaps leave a legacy through the release of our mementos for others to enjoy and create their own memories with them.

For more information on how Peggy can help you, she can be reached at (208) 304-3112.

photo from flickr –


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SS March 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

My husband is a hoarder and collector too and I believe Less is More. Things makes it difficult to have that shared family experience of decluttering. All organisation also turns to chaos! For my own mental health I have had to give up and ignore lots of stuff that I can have no control over.


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