80,000-99,999 SparkPoints 85,517

Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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'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.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love the feeling of decluttered, if things seem to be getting a tad too cluttered in my environment, dusty etc It usually means in other areas of my life, ie.e emotional , mental or healthy. I love putting on some LOUD music and speed cleaning like a demon, by the time I am done with the physical clutter I usually have an answer to my mental clutter AND got a kick butt workout in too boot!
    1982 days ago
    I'm another SparkFriend who can totally relate to this blog. Except that I am still stuck with the clutter, still overweight, and my book by Peter Walsh is buried in this house under the clutter somewhere!
    I've had enough of the clutter and I'm clearing some out. Also working on diet and exercise again.
    Hopefully this will be the year that I get serious!
    Good for you for all your successes!
    Cheering you on,

    1982 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Yes, it is best to have less. Living in an RV means if something new comes in something old must go out. Of course, I usually made sure it belonged to DH!! emoticon
    1983 days ago
    Having moved every 3-4 years for the last 20+ years, I can attest to the fact that it is liberating to go through your junk and really decide if you want to take the time to pack it, move it, unpack it etc.

    Good for you! emoticon
    1983 days ago
    I have a pile of "How to Declutter" books, too!!!!!

    Your blog has really hit the spot today.... I am touched down to my bones... maybe it will force me to do something about it!
    1984 days ago
    Check out - same concept, along with lots of assistance in building routines to keep things from re-cluttering.
    1984 days ago
    What a great blog! That book sounds like one I'd leave on the table, too, because it addresses stuff I'd rather leave undone! Good for you for going after it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1984 days ago
  • NEWSGIRL2177
    I always feel better immediately when I clear out unneeded things. Whether it's clothes, old papers or medicines, anything that's no longer useful or relevant is given away or trashed. It's like I can breathe a bit better with fewer things around me.

    Great insight!
    1984 days ago
    I adhere 95% of the time to the theory that if I buy something, something has to go. Also, in the dead of winter, I'll go thru all my crap in the basement & in spring time, go thru the garage - between the 2 it makes a pretty good load for charity. I agree that it does reduce the stress plus someone else can use it!! BONUS!!
    1984 days ago
    I completely understand. I've been buying for "that space I'll eventually have" and not the space in which I'm living. I've been getting rid of things slowly, but it will still take a while to get myself to the place that I really am now.
    1985 days ago
    Fantastic Blog! Thanks for sharing!


    Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
    Melinda (gopintos)
    Perfect Health Diet Team
    Country Living Team
    Dr Oz Show Fans Team
    Wheat Belly Team

    1985 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Mm. I think I need to read that book. This blog is full of advice that is helpful to me in particular. I'm messy, and it doesn't just stress me out -- my husband hates it too. I remember a time when I shopped for comfort, and I see a beloved friend doing it now. It is definitely a "soothing, comfort, being nice to yourself" kind of activity -- but only while you're doing it. The junk you purchase haunts you from piles:)

    My daughter is coming home for almost a month at Christmas. My goal is to de-clutter the guest room so that it is pristine by December 12, and that it stays like that ever after.

    Thanks for the impetus, and for sharing your light bulb experience:)
    Deirdre emoticon
    1985 days ago
    I felt great when I dropped off some bags at Salvation Army yesterday --you are so right!
    1985 days ago
    So true! Have a wonderful day.
    1985 days ago
    Yeah, sure can relate to this blog. Congrats to you for decluttering the home and excess weight!
    1985 days ago
    Cool! That book sounds interesting. I'm good at cleaning out but they just creep right back in.
    1985 days ago
    Amazing book!
    1985 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.