FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 19, 2018 • WELLNESS • THE QUEENS COURIER 39
The surprising health benefi ts of decluttering
Getting your house in order can be
a struggle, especially as we age. Sorting
through decades of belongings is oft en
emotional and stressful, as questions and
decisions pile up: Is this jewelry valuable?
What should I do with all these tools I no
longer use? Will this china set have sentimental
value to my children?
But while it can be exhausting, this
eff ort to declutter and simplify can be
worthwhile, not only for our homes but
also for our health.
The advantages of decluttering
Getting rid of things you no longer need
or want may have a positive eff ect on mental
health and can also make for a safer environment.
It’s a sobering fact that every 12
seconds, according to the CDC, someone
over age 64 will fall and end up in the emergency
room. Decluttering can help keep
paths clear and obstacles to a minimum.
A study at Indiana University showed
that people with clean houses are healthier
than people with messy houses. Regular
household chores like vacuuming and
washing windows can be great physical
activity. A tidy home can also mean
we’re more likely to invite people over -
prompting interactions that can help alleviate
feelings of depression and isolation
that can accompany aging.
Tips to get started
With these tips, decluttering doesn’t
need to be a dreaded task:
• Don’t judge yourself. It’s harder to
decide what to do with items that have
been in the family for generations than
it might be for millennials to decide
what to do with items from their college
• Take it one room at a time. According
to a study by Moen, the most-cluttered
areas of a home are the garage, kitchen
and home offi ce. Th e kitchen is a
good place to start the decluttering process,
because throwing away chipped
dishes and expired spices isn’t as taxing
as wading through boxes of potentially
important paperwork or personal
items. Take everything out of the
fridge and cupboards and spread it all
out on a counter or table so it’s easy to
review. Give shelves a good wipe-down
and restock them with the necessities,
putting go-to things within easy reach,
and donating or storing appliances and
dishes that are used less oft en.
Once you feel good about your progress
in the kitchen, move on to tackle
the garage, offi ce and other spaces where
belongings tend to pile up. Like closets!
• Keep only what you wear the most. Pick
a handful of favorite outfi ts for everyday
wear, social outings and special occasions,
seasonal wear and wardrobe staples,
and donate the rest. If it’s hard to
part with handmade or other sentimental
items, consider fi nding creative ways
to remember them, such as making a
memory quilt of old T-shirts or photographing
special items for an album and
then letting them go.
• Stop the build-up before it begins. Keep
a recycling bin handy for unwanted
credit card off ers and coupon packs
before they enter the house, and unsubscribe
from magazines and newspapers
if they pile up unread. Eco-Cycle has
some tips to cull the tide of junk mail,
and mobile apps like Evernote can help
collect and digitize recipes, warranties,
instruction manuals and memorabilia
to clear away more piles of paper.
At the end of the day, it’s OK to hang
on to belongings that are near and dear
to you. But for items that don’t hold sentimental
or functional value, kick-start
a decluttering mission today so you can
enjoy a tidier, safer home tomorrow.