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Decluttering Tips for Self-Healing

One of the simplest things you can do to support your emotional eating and trauma-healing journey is to declutter your life. Here’s why:

Everything is energy, and we hold energy in different ways: in the cells of our body; in our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs; in the tangible objects we own; and in the unseen space radiating out from our physical body, which is referred to as our energy field.

We are attached to our living space and personal belongings—home, vehicle, purse—by invisible threads of energy flowing around and through us. You can’t see them, but they affect you nevertheless because everything you own is embedded with and reinforces the energy of your beliefs.

This is why even objects from a traumatic childhood can hold you hostage to your past. The concrete, visible world of our “stuff” and the invisible world of our emotions and energy field are one.

It’s all connected.

When you release objects from your outside world that no longer serve you, you energetically release what no longer serves you on the inside as well.

For example, by letting go of outdated clothes from an earlier—and perhaps, harder—time in your life, you begin to let go of outdated beliefs about yourself too. You essentially release the energy held in those pieces of clothing—from the outside and inside of you.

Think of it this way:

Change and self-growth happen from the inside out as you shift your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

Change and self-growth also happen from the outside in as you release the heavy energies of clutter—especially trauma-related clutter—from your life.

Our homes and belongings are like mirrors reflecting to us the beliefs we hold of ourselves. As you look around your environment, what do you see? Do you see order or chaos ? Do the objects in your life uplift your spirit or drain you? Are you reminded of loving memories or painful ones?

Sometimes we’re so used to having items in our lives for a long time—especially sentimental ones from childhood—that we don’t “see” their deeper meaning or “feel” the effect on our spirit.

I’m not suggesting that you let go of everything from your past, although you may choose to. What I’m inviting you to do is look critically at what you own, release items associated with painful experiences and memories, and keep only those items that bring joy and comfort to your heart.

Below are some categories of items for you to consider releasing as you embark on your emotional eating and trauma-healing journey from the outside in:

Trauma-Related Objects

Here’s a short list of items people may keep from childhood. If you can relate to any of them, consider releasing them from your life:

• Diaries filled with loneliness, sadness, and despair.
• Pictures of family members with angry or sad facial expressions.
• The Christmas tree angel that witnessed holiday arguments and fights.
• Old dishware that may be useful but holds the energy of mealtime family tension.
• School papers, books, or report cards from those years of wondering how you’ll ever get through another day.

If this list reminds you of other items from your past, reflect on what it means to keep them or how you would feel if you got rid of them. Use this list as a starting point as you consider releasing other items from earlier times in your life.

Besides childhood and trauma-related items, here are some clutter clearing suggestions, specific to emotional eating and body confidence concerns, to help you honor your food, your body, and yourself.

Kitchen/Dining Areas

• Keep counter tops and eating tables clutter free and clean. (I know this isn’t always easy. Just do your best.)
• Honor your food by neatly organizing your pantry area and cabinets.
• Keep your refrigerator clean, organized, and free from expired food.
• Replace chipped tableware. This doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. The point is to honor you, your food, and mealtime by serving yourself from eye-pleasing dishes.


• Respect yourself and your body by only wearing clothes that you love and enjoy wearing.
• Discard old, tired clothing that is discolored, frayed, or clearly worn out. You deserve better.
• Organize your clothes respectfully in your closets and drawers. Take time to put them away neatly and not leave them hanging on a chair, or worse, lying on the floor.
• Replace missing buttons and complete necessary mending. Unfinished business is energy draining.


• Honor your glorious body by replacing frayed, old towels with new ones.
• Same goes for sheets. Think of all the time you spend sleeping. Honor your body by enveloping it in fresh, comfortable linens.
• Get rid of old make-up and toiletries. Your face and body deserve better.
• Keep vanity tops clean and clutter-free to make daily hygiene an calming experience.

Your Words & Social Media

Change from the outside-in also means being aware of the words you use in conversation and what you share on social media. Here are two suggestions to keep your energy aligned for healing:

·Commit to stop joking about your struggles with food or your body. When others are joking or complaining about these issues, choose not to participate. Offer a compassionate smile, be silent, or change the subject. Consider letting your friends know that you’ll no longer belittle your challenges in this way. This doesn’t mean you stop talking with them about your feelings. It means you engage them for emotional support and leave out the self-disrespect.

·When you see memes on social media that are supposed to be funny but are sexually disrespectful, mean-spirited, fat-shaming, mental health shaming, aggressive, or mock your emotional eating challenges, don’t share, “like,” or comment. Unsubscribe from anything that contributes to hurting anyone so these posts no longer contaminate your media feeds—and your energy field.

Releasing what no longer supports you and your life is an act of radical self-respect. It can feel hard to let go of our belongings, especially sentimental items. But removing things that remind you of people, places, and events that hold pain from the past helps open space for new joyful experiences.

Have you heard the saying “nature abhors a vacuum”? What that means is as you create space by releasing objects and symbols that hold the energy of trauma and emotional eating struggles, energetic forces naturally fill that space to support the new person you’re becoming. This doesn’t necessarily mean the space refills with more “stuff.” You’re giving these newly opened spaces the opportunity to refill with more joyful internal states. This is how targeted clutter clearing helps you release the old so you can make way for the new and more empowered you.

To learn more about how decluttering can help you heal both early trauma and emotional eating, read Chapter Nine, “Creating an Emotionally Safe Sanctuary,” in my book Healing Emotional Eating for Trauma Survivors that you can check out here.

Start now: What will you release today to lighten your mind, body, and spirit?

(Photo by Alexandra Gorn)

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