How Clutter Affects Your Health As You Get Older

I can’t stand clutter. I’ve been a neat freak for like forever. As I got older, I tended to streamline my life so much so, that it ran like a fine tuned automobile. I know where everything is. Everything has its own place. I know instantly if something inside my home is out-of-order.

Last spring, my husband and I went on a month-long campaign to once and for all clear out our basement, closets and barn of any and all clutter. We even went as far as to hire a company called ‘1-800-Got Junk?’ to come here and do the final clear out (click here to read that post).

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Here’s what our basement looked like after the clean out. I hadn’t seen the basement walls in years because we had so much clutter!

Clutter has many more downsides. It can even be damaging for your physical as well as your mental health. Researchers have found that being around disorganization makes it harder for your brain to focus. It can be especially tough for people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which is what my husband suffers from. Plus mess equals stress and I recently found out how stressful clutter can be in my life. My daughter recently asked me if she could store some of her older baby clothes in my home. Without thinking it thoroughly through I said yes. In my mind I thought she just had a box or two. When she arrived here at my home, her husband sneaked in a truckload of stuff and piled it all on my husband’s work desk in our basement. This was unbeknownst to me UNTIL I happened to venture down into our basement to do a load of laundry. I was shocked at what I discovered:

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This was totally unacceptable! I got dumped on. Literally!

It was after midnight when I discovered this mess and I didn’t want to wake my husband. So I just sat and stewed and before I knew it, I was having a severe anxiety attack. I took my blood pressure and it was 180 over 101. I tried everything I could to get my pressure down (deep breathing, yoga, listening to new age music). Nothing worked. I was getting angrier and angrier. I thought for sure I was literally going to have a heart attack.

Finally I woke my husband up. It was 4AM. Luckily he talked me down, made me take double of my blood pressure pills and we made a plan to rid ourselves of this clutter invasion. I had no idea I was going to react so violently to this mess. I started thinking about how hard hubby and I had worked to clear out OUR home from years of clutter and chaos. I started to feel as if I was trapped. I felt as if the walls around me were caving in on me. My first impulse was to get in the car and drive away! I had to get out of that house!

Was this an over reaction on my part? Was I being unreasonable? Hoarding is a serious problem. Apparently my daughter has a hoarding problem and she was pushing her disease on me. According to this Web MD article (click here) having too much stuff can be disastrous for your brain. If your closets are bursting or your desk is topped with piles of disorganized papers, you may want to take some steps toward a neater home or workspace. While a bit of chaos might have some upsides — at least one study suggests that a messy room spurs creativity — but it has many more downsides. It can even be damaging for your physical and mental health.

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(stock photo from article) As you get older, clutter is difficult to contend with.
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(another article photo) Does your desk look like this? How can you even think or reason?
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(article photo) It’s spring time. Get to work NOW on managing your clutter. It gets harder as you get older.

As for my daughter, if you’re a follower of my blog, you know that I recently wrote her out of my will. I love her but I can’t stand her. She’s narcissistic and abusive. Is it any wonder why these kids of today are totally broke and can’t afford a home of their own? Look at all the money my daughter spent and wasted on friggin’ baby clothes?

Hubs and I cleared off one of our existing shelves and stacked her crap on it. This got her stuff out of my line of sight (no stress) yet neatly stacked away and off hubby’s work bench. I’m not going to argue with my daughter. She’s just banned from ever coming here again. I told her my home is going up for sale in 3 years. If her stuff isn’t removed off of my property by then, 1-800-Got-Junk? will be here to cart it all away to the town dump (where all of her crap belongs in the first place!) and the costs will be tacked on to her legal bill.

I’m not having a heart attack and possibly die over this bitch. Retirees out there…….be forewarned! Don’t let your children take advantage of you. If they have stuff, that’s what storage units are for. Let them go pay for their own hoarder habits.

Note: don’t send me comments telling me how awful my daughter is. I already know. Trust me, I know! And retirees, don’t be blaming yourself as to how your children turned out. You didn’t do anything wrong. Some people just have no respect for others. Plain and simple.

Don’t argue or sweat it. Just do this:

 

 

14 comments

  1. I have a daughter that I love but can’t stand. She’s disrespectful, blames me for every crappy thing in her life, refuses to acknowledge gifts, has me blocked on her phone and on social media……but who’s the one she calls when there’s no one else? That’s right. MOMMA. I wish we could get together and talk over a martini.

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  2. OH and one more thing …. I need to seriously pair down my stuff. I’ve been working on it, slowly, but my less-than-900 sq ft. condo looks like a shithole. Time to get off the couch, turn on tunes, and get my shit together. Thank you so much for the kick in the pants.

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  3. Wow. First of all, I want a basement. Or do I? We had shelves put in our garage which I promptly filled with my Rubbermaid bins of holiday decorations. But I have managed to pretty well contain the bins to that space. It makes PC crazy, though. If we had a basement, my bins would be out of our daily line of vision but would I just go nuts and continue to buy my way into double the decorations I have now?

    I think when I become disenchanted with putting up spring and summer, fall and winter decor, I will be taking the whole lot of stuff to Goodwill or the dump. Had many cute things to decorate my library but when I was done with that chapter of life, and ready (not ready, but…) to retire, I gave it all away pretty easily.

    In moving mom over the winter, I brought home things to give my daughters…not-so-heirlooms. I did keep a few things myself but I am beginning to give away my own things. I don’t need to be taking in anyone else’s.

    So I understand your frustration with your daughter. But I do appreciate that her items were neatly condensed and storable. No overflowing cardboard boxes or Walmart bags of ‘stuff’.

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    • Hi Leslie. Yes. My daughter is a neat hoarder. LOL. Sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I digress.
      I got rid of most of my Xmas decorations. I had boxes and boxes of that stuff. Limited it all down to one 7 ft, pre-lit tree, blue xmas balls and a few knick knacks as well as one nativity scene. We don’t even put lights up around the exterior anymore.
      My home now is filled with what we exactly use and need and nothing more. No excess. It took a while to pare down but once you do it is a freeing experience.
      Good luck with your own downsizing. My kids didn’t want anything from my mothers estate. Much of it got trashed. Goes to show us how meaningless material possessions can be.
      Thanks, as always, for your comment.

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  4. I got rid of every last holiday decoration. Not one tiny Christmas thing. No one comes here at Christmas. But that’s just me. We’re in our seventies.

    Also, I want in on the martini bitch-fest. 😀

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    • Anne, maybe if enough readers agree, perhaps we can all meet somewhere and drink to our hearts content? BYOM (Bring Your Own Martini)
      I have one special XMAS tree that I bought in Florida 3 years ago. It’s white, pre-lit and I like to hang these glossy blue balls on it. It’s lovely and it makes ME feel happy. That’s about it. No one comes here either (and I LIKE it that way!!!)
      Thanks for your comment.

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  5. I despise clutter. I so understand. In fact, almost every month I get rid of a couple of bags. Every time I visit my parents I take two to three bag loads and get rid of it when I get back home. There was a time when I couldn’t keep the Sunday paper in the house past Sunday — it bothered me so much. (We don’t get a paper anymore).
    You have every right to want a clutter free home. And it’s obvious that any clutter causes you stress — a perfect excuse to dump the stuff.

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    • Thanks Sharon. I do the same thing as you. Keeping clutter at bay is a constant, constant chore. It is unrelentless. The way you are with the newspaper 9we don’t get them anymore) I am with magazines and catalogues. I trash them as soon as they are delivered. There is no end. Especially at Xmas time.
      Thanks for your comment. You’re doing right by your parents!

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