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Clutter Clearing for Painful Memories (and weight loss, too!)

It’s spring-cleaning season and a great time to clear the clutter from your life. An organized home filled with objects you love reduces your stress level and uplifts your spirit. And as unusual as this may sound, when it comes to emotional eating and weight loss, clutter clearing is your secret weapon.

Yes… that’s right. Reducing clutter from your life helps you reduce the weight from your body. They may seem unrelated, but releasing unnecessary stuff emotionally frees you to release extra weight. On an energy level, it’s all connected.

I’ve written before about the Three Ways Clutter Clearing Helps You Lose Weight and what to do with clothes that are too big or too small in Closet Clearing for Yo-Yo Dieters.

This time I want to go deeper and discuss objects from your childhood that hold memories of painful experiences. These may include toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, books, diaries, pictures—anything that keeps you connected to childhood pain and trauma. For example:

  • Diaries filled with loneliness and sadness.
  • Pictures of family members with angry or sad expressions on their faces.
  • The end table dented when your drunken father threw a pot in a rage
  • The music box your uncle gave you for your thirteenth birthday that your family oohed and aahed over—unaware he was sexually abusing you.
  • The angel from your family Christmas tree that witnessed years of holiday arguments and fights.

Powerful list, isn’t it? I wonder if you can relate.

As surprising as it may seem, letting go of these things can help make your weight-loss journey an easier one. Let me explain…

The objects around you either raise your energy or drain your spirit. This can feel so subtle that you’re not consciously aware of it. But too much clutter can feel unsettling on a subconscious level. This underlying uneasiness may contribute to your urge to eat when you’re not hungry.

Objects from your childhood—especially reminders of painful experiences—can hold you hostage to your past. In the same way you keep visual images of memories in your mind, you also hold memories energetically. You can’t see them but they live on in your energy field.

This doesn’t mean you let go of everything from your childhood—although it can be liberating to do so. It means you look at your things with new eyes and release everything connected with past pain and trauma.

Jenna’s Diaries

Jenna was 70 pounds overweight and struggled with anxiety and depression. As a child, she endured emotional and physical abuse by her parents. She remembers first using food to comfort herself when she was five years old and hid candy under her bed. As an adult, anxiety-filled days and lonely nights often ended with Jenna eating herself into a food coma.

Jenna discovered that Milky Way bars numbed her pain. When her aunt gave her a diary for her 10th birthday, Jenna found that writing helped, too. Jenna’s aunt gave her a diary for her tenth birthday. Through years of silently enduring a lonely and abusive childhood, her diaries were a source of comfort for Jenna.

When I discussed with Jenna the power of clutter clearing, she got right on board. She began getting rid of clothes, books, kitchenware—anything she no longer found useful or brought joy to her life.

But then there were all those diaries. She’d saved every one. As Jenna embraced the power of clutter clearing and felt the resulting energy shifts, she knew she had to do something with them.

“From everything I’ve learned about clutter cleaning,” she said, “I knew those diaries had to go. When I was a child, writing saved me. But it became time to get the pain on those pages out of my life.”

How Jenna Let Go

Jenna created a “letting-go” ritual. She found a photo of herself when she was a child—a happy memory of being with Aunt Sally. She gathered her diaries and put them in a pile in front of her living room fireplace. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, with the photo of “little Jenna”—and a box of tissues—beside her, she read each diary. After honoring them in this way, Jenna thanked the diaries for giving her comfort. She then burned them in her fireplace.

“It felt freeing to let them go,” she said. “While reading, I felt sad for the little girl I was but also peaceful and strong. It’s as if burning the diaries transformed the energy of my pain into something powerful.

Right after, I felt the impulse to go for a walk. My body felt so light. I had done a lot of work in therapy to heal and this was exactly what I needed to move to the next level. Once that childhood pain was gone from my home, I could better focus on releasing the weight and taking care of myself in other ways. It seemed magical.”

When childhood pain and trauma are the root causes for why you struggle with emotional eating and weight issues, you need a holistic approach. This includes your mind, body, spirit and the energy embedded in the objects you surround yourself with.

By combining clutter clearing like Jenna did with sound nutrition, movement and therapeutic approaches to heal emotionally, you cover all your bases. It’s the best-kept secret for transforming your life and creating a slimmer body.

Getting started

For now, simply notice the objects around you. Just reading this article will help you look at everything with new eyes.

Trust that your inner Wise Self will guide you to what you need to release. Then, let it go. Donate, recycle or throw it away. As Jenna did, you may want to create a letting go ritual to honor special objects that helped you. For example, the Teddy Bear you cried yourself to sleep with or the books that helped you tune out your parents fighting. While these things may evoke sentimental feelings, resist the urge to keep them. They served their purpose and they need to move on.

You do, too.


(Photo Credit: Decluttering)

2 Responses

  1. Anne

    I’m definitely ready for this step. I have every diary and even the childhood clippings of my parent’s lives…both of whom were abusive. I realize now that I am carrying around generations of abusive actions, memories etc. I’ve moved 4 times in the last 6 years and each time I downsized a bit more but I realize now, I have a fundamental hoard and 15 pounds that I can’t get rid of no matter how hard I try. It’s time.

    1. Dear Anne,

      I discovered the power of clutter clearing 20 years ago and it changed my life. I know it will change yours, too.

      Yes, it is time. I wish you all the best and know that you will feel lighter in mind, body and spirit once you do this.


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