Let’s face it. If you’re a potential or ongoing retiree you have accumulated a bunch of stuff over the years. You know, the dated newspapers from Lindburgh’s flight, 50 teacups from estate sales, the stuffed moose head from that once in a lifetime trip to Alaska.
It’s all there. Stuff stuffed in drawers, a skimpy attic and a garage that is no longer made for a car, now a refuse can for everything that can’s fit into a natural habitat.
No lectures. You know who you are if you qualify as a seasoned retiree hoarder. Or you may be just a messy person who doesn’t know what to do with the next big thing that comes across the threshold except to keep it.
I’m here to tell you that your reluctance to discard the daily newspaper may be affecting your brain health. If clutter that is around you–a crowded desk, closet, or living space––creates in your mind a subtle discomfort, mild confusion or a stressed out feeling, you have got it..
Such daily disorganization can boost the level of stress hormones, impairing memory, reducing your concentration and even impairing your physical health.
You might be convincing yourself that you may need a particular item “some day.” Placing your treasure atop another precious item becomes just another pile of unnecessary items that you just can’t part with. In fact, serious hoarders can accumulate so much stuff that their home is overwhelmed with hills of old clothes, 45 RPM records, yellowed newspapers and dusty knick-knacks.
So if you qualify with a hoarding disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there’s no hope for you in this article. Our advice, go to your nearest psychiatrist to get well.
If you are just messing around with compelling evidence which shows clutter prevents your brain from focusing and processing information—and you have those feelings of anxiety, then take a few of these tips home with you.
- Start small: Do one room at a time or even a particular drawer, desktop or closet
- Begin with a familiar space: Not the attic but an area you use frequently (desk)
- Sort according to need: Keeper box; Throwaway box; Give away box and uncertain box.
- Keep frequently used items in sight: dish or basket at the door (i.e. keys, wallet, etc) Little Used Items out of sight (in attic or back of closet)
- Set up your own de-clutter time. Spend 10 minutes a day sorting out things you don’t need. In that way, clutter will not raise its ugly head again.