a book by Peter Walsh, who is an expert on decluttering.
I wish I had read this book 2 years ago. As it was the book sat for more than a year in my "to be read" pile of...clutter. A bit ironic perhaps.
The premise is that the physical clutter in our homes is a manifestation of unmet emotional needs, and creates a vicious cycle. We turn to acquiring stuff because we are unhappy with some part of our life and the more stuff we get the unhappier we are which leads to more stuff and less happiness and so on.
And so too with our weight. Food becomes our drug of choice, creating that same vicious circle of unmet needs, unhappiness and excuses...excess weight is simply the embodiment of the physical clutter in our lives.
So his solution to starting down the path to weight loss and better health is to declutter one's space and by so doing eliminate many of the excuses and stresses that leave us to self-medicate with food.
This is a bit simplistic of an analysis but he makes many points which are spot on, and doesn't try to coddle one (oh sweetie, it's not your fault you're fat...it's your genes, it's your mother's fault, it's your doctor's fault, you're not really fat you're just curvy, look at how many other people are even bigger than you!).
I can so relate. Over a period of years I was unhappy with my life but hadn't consciously admitted it to myself...and I was a shopaholic as a result. My home was the Kingdom of Piles of Stuff. Which contributed to my unhappiness, although I didn't realize it at the time. Clutter creates stress, shopping for more stuff temporarily relieves the stress but creates more clutter and more stress and more shopping....and weight gain because eating temporarily relieves the stress but creates more unhappiness over the extra weight which causes more eating and more shopping which creates more stress...
A vicious circle.
None of this is news to the Spark Community. Before joining I had made half-hearted attempts to get organized and lose weight, neither of which ever lasted very long and I would wind up more cluttered and heavier than when I had started.
But one of the first things I did when I joined SP was the sleep challenge. One of the steps was to clean out my bedroom to create a nice, neat organized and restful place in which to sleep.
I felt emotionally lighter immediately...just from cleaning my room! Who knew!
I expanded to the bathroom...then the kitchen...then other rooms. I tried to stay on top of things, to not let the piles start to grow again. And as I decluttered my home I also had more focus on decluttering my body, which I truly think was possible in a large part because of getting rid of the physical stuff I had accumulated. Less clutter meant less stress meant less mindless eating meant being happier and more involved with my life and the consequences of the choices I made.
Eventually, though, the piles started reappearing. My bedroom was no longer a nice neat calm haven of rest. Counter tops again disappeared. And I gained weight again. Oh, not much, I stayed within 10 pounds of my goal weight, but this time I knew what was happening.
Moving in August was a good thing as it gave me the impetus for a big decluttering push. I had to completely empty the house and because I've downsized domiciles I knew I couldn't take everything. I wound up with 3 piles, roughly equal in size - take, store and donate/trash.
I ended up roughly 1/3 lighter in total possessions. Most of what is in storage are things like my power tools and pictures/memories and Christmas decorations, and kitchen stuff I will give to whichever of my children moves into his/her own place first. And my couch which was too big to bring (too big to fit in my house here anyway).
Everything I chose to bring with me is something I use. Or at least try to use, some of the small appliances work with the converter/adapter plugs and some don't. So some things being replaced with local items and the US versions going into an organized pile in the basement to await the move back to the US in 3 years, at which time I will again be able to use them. I will sell or donate the local items before I move.
And everything I got rid of was all the stuff I had been hanging on to forever because "I might use it one day". But one day never came and I had to force that realization in order to add things to the donate/trash piles. It was hard.
But I felt better afterwards. And I don't think it is just coincidence I'm back at goal weight again. I feel lighter physically & emotionally by having 2/3 fewer things here with me. Keeping the piles banished and counters cleared and an overall lack of clutter makes me happy...I can consciously feel there is less stress in my life and more energy to concentrate on other things.
This Peter Walsh guy is on to something.