Volume 10, Issue 2

May 2018

Why Decluttering is Good for Your Health

Last month we talked about clearing clutter from the body, specifically cleansing the liver and kidneys. This month, to continue with spring cleaning, I'd like to focus not just on cleaning, but on decluttering our homes. It's easy to turn a blind eye to the clutter we live with, but it feels so good to remove it - you'll feel so much lighter! Read on below...

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better as it is a step toward longevity.

Ramila Padiachy

Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM)®


What is Clutter?

Clutter has been defined as anything you're keeping around your house that doesn't add value to your life. How do you decide what is clutter? Ask yourself a few questions:  

Does it work? If it doesn't work, either get rid of it or get it fixed right away.

When did you last use it? Advice varies, but most people say get rid of anything you haven't used in the past 6 months (some say 12 months). Depending on the item and your circumstances, you may find that a more generous time allowance is more appropriate.

Do you love it? If not, and you haven't used it in the past 6 months (or so), it's probably time to get rid of it. Don't keep things out of guilt, for example because great aunt Mary gave it to you, but you really don't like it.

Does it add value to your life? If not, get rid of it!


Why is Clutter a Problem?

For many people, clutter can be a drain on their energy; this may be because they waste huge amounts of time looking for things they can't find. Clutter can be bad for our health because we tend to feel as if our life is out of control when we surround ourselves with too many things. Messy homes and work spaces can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Clutter is rarely recognized as a source of stress, but clearing it definitely lowers stress levels.

What are the benefits of decluttering? Decluttering reduces stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. It can even be enjoyable! You'll have more space, and you'll be able to find things easily.

Why Should I Declutter?

There's a great deal of advice available for how to declutter, much of it conflicting. I'm going to present a few options, and leave it up to you to decide what works best for you.

Many people suggest decluttering by location, e.g. room by room, or even specific spaces within a room. However, Marie Kondo, best-selling author of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, considers this to be a mistake. She recommends sorting by category, not by location. This is because people often store the same type of item in more than one place. This means we repeat the same work in different locations, and may not remember we already have kept what we need of the particular category of stuff. It's up to you to decide how you prefer to proceed.

According to Marie Kondo, tidying must start with discarding. You may need to divide the discarded stuff into garbage, recycling, donating or giving to a friend, and sort it accordingly. Basically, there are only two possible decisions: what to discard and where to store the stuff you're keeping

Some decluttering tips:

Organize first; buy second. Do not buy a ton of storage pieces and supplies before you go through your home. Discard first, then see what storage you really need; buy just a few bins to start.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't plan to spend an entire day to organize your whole house. It's much better to spend a few hours - 2 or 3 - on one project or space. This way, you won't reach the point where you can't make one more decision, and give up in frustration.

Complete each task completely. Once you've decided where something is going to go, take it there. Don't let it sit - take the bags and boxes to the trash or recycling immediately. Similarly, take anything to be donated where it needs to go as soon as you have a car load of it.

Be prepared to maintain your decluttered space. You need to expect to do regular upkeep to prevent clutter from piling up again.

Don't be a perfectionist. The goal is to create a space that works well for your needs, not to look like an ad for a magazine. It's a space that's used by humans, not a staged home for non-existent residents.

Additional strategies:

Give away one item each day. Or give away one item on the first day, two on the second day, three on the third day, and so on, for 30 days.

Fill one trash bag. Or one bag to donate to a charity.

Designate a spot for incoming papers. This avoids having piles of paper in various locations.

Schedule a decluttering weekend. You may not finish everything but you'll make great progress. Note: take breaks so you don't end up on overwhelm.

Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. Take a moment to think about how you want it to look. Then figure out what's essential and get rid of the rest. 

Create a "maybe" box. There may be some stuff you don't use but can't bear to get rid of. Put it in the "maybe" box and look at it again in six months. Usually, it will be easier to get rid of those things, given that you haven't needed them for six months.

Take everything out of a drawer. Then sort it into three piles: 1. Stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2. stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3. stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer, then put the stuff back that should go there neatly. Deal with the other piles right away!

Have a conversation with your family/ significant other/ roommate. An uncluttered home is the result of a shared philosophy of simplicity of everyone living in the house. Explain that you really want an uncluttered house, and that you need their help - do this in an encouraging, persuasive way, don't nag.

Enjoy your new uncluttered look. Take the time to admire the improvements you've made, and then nip clutter in the bud when it starts to form again.

I hope you find this helpful! I know it's hard to get started with decluttering, but it feels great once it's done. It's helpful to realize that acquiring more and more stuff isn't the answer - it doesn't make us happier, and when it creates clutter, it actually has a negative effect on us.



  1. The ridiculously thorough guide to decluttering your home. budgetdumpster.com/resources/how-to-declutter-your-home.php  Accessed April 6, 2018.
  2. The best decluttering advice we've heard. huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-best-decluttering-advice-weve-heard_us_5a0c8906e4b0b17ffce1ffb8  Accessed April 6, 2018.
  3. Bourg Carter S. Why mess causes stress: 8 reasons, 8 remedies. psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies Accessed April 25, 2018.
  4. Kondo M. The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014.
  5. Morris C. Pro organizer tips: what NOT to do when decluttering your home. apartmenttherapy.com/pro-organizer-tips-what-not-to-do-when-decluttering-your-home-168836  Accessed April 6, 2018.
  6. Becker J. 10 creative ways to declutter your home. becomingminimalist.com/creative-ways-to-declutter/  Accessed April 6, 2018.
  7. 18 five-minute decluttering tips to start conquering your mess. zenhabits.net/18-five-minute-decluttering-tips-to-start-conquering-your-mess/  April 3, 2008. Accessed April 6, 2018.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.



There is a Nature's Sunshine supplement relevant to this newsletter. You can find information about this product and purchase it in our online store:

  • Zerenity

For additional information, please email info@ramilas.com or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also, on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products and our clinic, and order products.

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