It was a necessary realization to me how much living among excess clutter could harm my health, physically and emotionally. We may think it is just a cleaning process, but the depth of the problem will open our eyes to realize how and why the effect of clutter weighs us down. Why it is hard to unclutter? Why can’t it be organized? Why is more clutter mounting up? Emotionally attached objects are hard to get rid of. New attractive items are found in markets all the time. Consequently, clutter can easily mount up in one’s life. Clutter and disorganization impairs productivity. By knowing these facts as problems, we can start searching for the solutions to make our life so much easier. I wanted to find solutions as I was living with excess clutter! I will be introducing a practical method to end excess clutter called “Danshari.” Danshari is a new notion of de-cluttering that has been prevalent in Japan. The idea includes the concept of removing the emotional burden that comes with having too many items. Furthermore, Danshari teaches people to let go of their burdens and make clear plans for a better future.
We need to understand that clutter is created by unorganized people who are creating physical and mental danger for themselves. Physically, if one lives in a cluttered house, one probably doesn’t eat well, because the kitchen isn’t functional. The person most likely doesn’t even know what is in the refrigerator and whether or not their food is contaminated. People start to realize the need of de-cluttering when there is a distinct element of danger due to the excess clutter. However, unless one is highly organized, one would most likely understate the problem.
People may think it is an issue of space when they approach the problem of de-cluttering. However, this subjectively viewed space problem can be solved by organizing accordingly by acquiring trash bags and containers. According to David F. Tolin, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living in Hartford, CT, and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Yale, “Hoarding is not just a house problem; it’s also a person problem.” (Tolin, Frost, & Steketee, 2007) The person needs to fundamentally change their behavior.
The victims of this excess clutter problem would be the clinically defined hoarders; however, many people can find problems similar to the hoarder’s behaviors. I must state that the hoarders I am referring to are different from collectors, as an expert explains as follows:
“A definition of hoarding that discriminates clinical hoarding syndromes from
collecting and normal saving involves: (a) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a
large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; (b) living
spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were
designed; (c) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.”
(Steketee & Frost, 2006)
Hoarding has been reported in a variety of disorders. One of the problems is that hoarding involves the inability to discard worthless or worn out items. Some individuals firmly believe that all personal objects have emotional attachments. Consequently, they are unable to separate themselves from emotionally charged items that they feel holds some sort of personal memory. Those people may object to an uncluttering proposal because they may think and feel that all items are essential and they are unable to differentiate between essential and non-essential items. It is an understandable time consuming process; however, one must realize that failure to organize and de-clutter will often result in decreased feelings of well-being. Kupfermann (2011) in the New York Times article “The hoarder fights back,” opposes the notion that de-cluttering increases the level of mental health by demonstrating the traumatic experience of the de-cluttering process at her house. Kupfermann (2011)...
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