There is a connection that I need to share... clutter isn't just crowding your home, it's affecting your health too.

A cluttered home can lead to unhealthy food choices - counters crowded? scared to open your cupboards? can't find anything in the pantry? chances are you will throw your hands up in surrender and either go out or call in some quick-fix meal with a million calories. Or maybe you are depressed by the mess? Eating a cookie (or 10) is easier than tackling the insurmountable mountain of stuff. And opening that chocolate bar is so much easier than slogging through an over-stuffed fridge to liberate the carrot sticks (the clutter/fat connection has been covered by Peter Walsh in a book in some detail)

A cluttered life can lead to a lack of meaningful exercise - When it takes all day to clean around your stuff, you have no time to hit the gym before work, go for a walk after dinner, or take the kids to the pool/beach/park on the weekends -- trust me, I know what I'm saying here. I guess you could just let the dirt accumulate -- but ewwwww. (On a personal note: having a dog made my life a non-stop chore of dirt/hair removal, and kids made the ever increasing toy round-up. The more stuff I had the harder it was to keep up with it, and my disgust had reached critical levels to the point where I was secretly hoping the house would burn down!) So if your idea of an "ideal me" involves going to the park with your toddler every day, romantic walks at sunset, or you aspire to a buff body that can turn heads and climb mountains, you have to have LESS STUFF. Even with my slow and steady decluttering, I have found way more TIME to do what I really want and more time to honour my body's need to move instead of shifting the stuff from one place to another to clean in, around, under it all.

A cluttered approach to money management can lead to a cluttered home - "oh I LOVE that" without a 2nd thought "that"comes home with you, and the lingering guilt when the credit card bill comes keeps you from parting with "that" when the first blush of love is gone. Similar scenarios are "I deserve it", "This looks useful", "What a good deal", etc... the trap is (without any consideration about the true cost of the item, cost for maintenance and the space the item takes up) the money gets spent. THEN the interest starts growing on the credit. You are now committed to making that payment (among all the other bills) and you still want to shop. It can be a vicious cycle if you aren't the kind to pay the card off every month. And buyers' remorse can follow (pass the cookies again). ** It's been my observation that the people that are closest to the line financially have the most "toys" and gee-gaws in their homes. They are soothing their feelings of being "poor" with shopping! (I am making broad generalizations here, I know, but it's what I've seen.) I have been one of these insecure shoppers for years and years. It's as if surrounding myself with "stuff" was a great big cushion against disaster -- only it can bite you in the butt because it can cause more trouble on the home front (and the career front too if you are losing things or late too often thanks to the mess). On the financial flip side, there are the folks I know that "have it together" financially on their quite modest incomes. They are content with less stuff in their homes. They may even be minimalists! Their incomes may not be any more than the Clutter-toy-shoppers, but they have found a budget that works and are happy with what they can do with it. They save for the big purchases and have a plan for their future. They have learned to say "no" to the distracting impulse wants and that false sense of security that buying lots of stuff gives, and in exchange, have a deeper satisfaction found with financial responsibility and fewer possessions.

Next time you want to bring that item into your house consider if it will in any way distract you from your health, weight or financial goals. There is a clutter connection.

No comments: