cluttered sink with lots of dirty dishes

And what you can do about it right now!

Lots of people feel overwhelmed by clutter. Whether you love to shop and need that extra pair of shoes or you hold onto things and can’t seem to throw them away, we all have some clutter in our lives that we would love to take care of. A little clutter is ok. I’m talking about lots of clutter that starts taking over the whole house and your life. That kind of mess is probably making you sick.

Why is clutter bad?

Physically and mentally, clutter is not good for you. Mentally, clutter and hoarding can lead to depression. Things can feel out of control when you have a house in chaos. You can’t find anything, like your car keys, which leads you to be late all the time. Friends don’t want to come over, which leads to loneliness. And many people who have a lot of clutter, have expressed a sense of suffocation, of everything closing in on them.

Conversely, depression and other mental disorders like ADHD can lead to having a cluttered house. If you do not feel well mentally, you will not want to get out of bed and clean your house.

On the physical side, your clutter is literally suffocating you. A cluttered house can not be cleaned properly, which means dust piles up on everything. And you are breathing it in. Poor indoor air quality is a major factor in respiratory issues. There are many reasons your air quality can be poor in your house. See my indoor air quality post on all the factors that contribute to poor quality air in your house.

Dust is actually getting dirtier. Sure, we know it consists of sloughed-off skin cells, dust mites and bits of bugs (*shudder*), but increasingly it can contain many of the toxic chemicals found in our environment.

My client The Hoarder’s husband had terrible bouts of lung infections and breathing problems for years.

Clearing the clutter in your home is very important. But what if you don’t know where to start decluttering but still want to feel better now? Here’s what can you do right now if you suspect your clutter is making you sick:

What to do right now if you suspect your clutter is making you feel ill

1. Open the windows

Airing out the house does wonders for you mentally and physically. It lets out stagnant air and microscopic particles and lets in the fresh air. I know it’s tough in colder climates, but even if you leave several windows cracked for 20 minutes a day to increase the airflow, it will be beneficial.

If you don’t want to heat or cool the outside, as my Dad would always say, at least open the blinds or curtains and let the sunshine in. Sunshine has been proven to kill bacteria that lives in dust. It even kills Covid-19.

2. Try to dust as best as you can

Even if you are dusting your cardboard boxes that line the hall, it’s a good idea to get as much dust up as you can. I like to use Swiffer Dusters (Amazon, $17.99). It traps the dust on the duster instead of just spreading it around. And you may need a long extension. That way you can get those hard-to-reach places. And if you have a lot of clutter, I guarantee you have a lot of hard to reach places. Swiffer has a good starter kit HERE. A good microfiber cloth (Amazon, $13.99) works well too.

And don’t forget about the floors. That’s where most of the dust settles. Again, Swiffer has the goods on tackling dust. The Swiffer Sweeper (Amazon, $14.97) is great for getting under furniture. And their new Heavy Duty Pet Pads trap everything they comes in contact with.

3. Get an air purifier

I think everyone should have an air purifier in their home. Especially with the amount of toxins that are in our houses these days. Everything from the paint on the walls to your furniture has toxins in them, which in turn leach out into the air in your home. A quality air purifier sanitizes the air and removes toxins, allergens and many other pollutants. Air Doctor (Amazon, $495) has some of the best air purifiers on the market.

If you can’t afford an air purifier, get some houseplants. They do a great job of filtering the air. Here is a list of the ten most effective houseplants at filtering air.

So if you’re not ready to clear the clutter, but want to start feeling better right now, these tips will help you on your way. And when you do want to start decluttering, check out my 3 steps to easily declutter your home.

Also our sponsored book, Learn How to Organize and Declutter in 15 Minutes (Amazon, $2.99). It’s a quick read and simple decluttering method.

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