Is Clutter Causing Cancer?


I thought I would share with you something that I share with very few people…I have a little bit of an obsession with minimalism and tiny houses. While other people dream of a bigger house I dream about living in a clutter free zone.

While my husband has currently vetoed the idea of joining the tiny house nation (I’m still working on this one), there is so much that can be done to declutter now.

But, what does this have to do with your health? Or cancer? Why is a doctor talking about clutter? Great question!

Since I love all things minimalism and I am an aspiring minimalist, I’ve been reading up a lot on this topic. I was completely shocked by a couple of health impacts that clutter has. While I was reading these health facts I thought this might be something that interests you too.

Did you know that the stress hormone cortisol actually increases when you are in a cluttered environment or perceive an environment as cluttered? High cortisol levels have been linked to increased cancer growth!

Not only does it increase stress, but clutter has also been shown to increase depression too. People who live in a more cluttered environment are more likely to experience depression and isolation.

More interesting tidbits about Clutter…

In a study conducted by Yale University they found that throwing out items you feel a connection to actually triggers a pain response. Isn’t that amazing? It literally feels like you are hurting by getting rid of stuff.

Neuroscientists at Princeton University found that how organized or disorganized your environment is influences task performance. In other words, the more organized the environment, the quicker and better you perform your tasks.

That means that…

Physical clutter has been linked to overwhelm, disorganization, and distraction. These are major health issues I see in my office everyday. If your environment overwhelms you, how can you focus on your health? If your kitchen is disorganized, it can be challenging to make dietary changes. When you are distracted by stuff, mindfulness meditation practices become challenging.

So I ask you…

How is clutter impacting your health? Is it impacting your health? What have you done to overcome clutter? Leave a comment! I would love to hear from you.


2018-02-15T17:07:11+00:005 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Heather Paulson, ND, FABNO is a board certified naturopathic oncologist and an expert in combining natural therapies, nutrition, exercise, and emotional healing. She creates a strategy for dealing with cancer just for YOU. In her 10 years of clinic experience, she's helped thousands of people with cancer. She has dedicates her life and medical training helping those moving through the cancer experience.


  1. Rebecca Johnson June 3, 2016 at 8:22 am - Reply

    I’ve never been a hoarder but I’ve always been a “collector”. Recently I decided that some major changes needed to be done and I’ve been giving, selling, and throwing away “stuff”. I had one person tell me that he saw that as a sign that I’m giving up (on life). I understood what he meant because I do find it challenging to “forget” about my cancer diagnosis and the fear of recurrance. I thought about it for months trying to decide if that is really what I’m doing. Then, one day I shared these thoughts with someone and their comment to me was “maybe you’re done with all that and you want to start a new chapter”. Yes, that’s what I’ve decided I’m doing!

    • admin June 17, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      So powerful Rebecca! Closing one chapter and opening a new one sounds like a great way to celebrate where you are at right now. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Mel September 7, 2017 at 5:35 am - Reply

    I believe people who fill their lives with clutter are not enjoying their lives but fillling a void. Clutter is equivalent to using drugs & alcohol to mask your pain and to push people away. I see a direct link with clutter and illnesses.

  3. Roberta Fennig DO Psychiatrist October 15, 2017 at 10:03 am - Reply

    ‪Thank you for a great article about Clutter and Stress. I am a psychiatrist and also somewhat of a clutterer. I agree that there is a stress component to cluttering. What I wonder is how much of this is a chicken and egg phenomenon? Which came first? Stress, depression, and ADHD result in Clutter. Once you are cluttering, the stress and disorganization become worse, leading to more Clutter. It is a hard cycle to break and often reaches a point of no return. Some people have to hire someone to declutter for them. I agree it is literally painful to throw some things away. This is also worse if the person has had abandonment issues or lack of love, and they have used objects and things for comfort. Others might have compulsions and/or very busy lives which can be self created to avoid dealing with these issues. Thank You again for some great insights! Roberta Fennig, DO Psychiatrist. Santa Teresa, NM. ‬

  4. bhawna kapoor December 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I started decluttering after I quit my job in 2013 November. It has been 4 years and I decluttered every aspect of my life. I am a thriving minimalist now and have even started my online clutter consulting. Sharing the blessing of living light with all 🙂

Leave A Comment

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. We protect your data, learn how here...

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.