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The Hypothyroid Minimalist
I dabble in minimalism. It’s a matter of survival – mainly because keeping more stuff (and keeping it organized) requires more energy than I’m willing to put into housework.
My husband is understandably concerned that, as my writing business grows — and as I write one book after another — my writing will become more important to me than my usual wife- and mother-related duties.
It’s already more important to me than housework. But then, so many things are.
Lower energy levels and the higher cost of cleaning a cluttered house
Wouldn’t you rather spend your energy on things that matter most to you? When my energy levels are lower than normal, I’m more likely to neglect housework, because the ROI for many household chores is barely enough to justify the time and energy required to do them. A freshly-swept floor, for example, doesn’t stay swept for very long around here.
Some things have to be done sooner than others, because otherwise, the dirty things pile up and make a much larger job that eventually has to be done, anyway. Stupid laundry. And dishes.
But one trick I’ve learned — which isn’t so much a trick as an impulse that usually ends well — is clearing shelves and other surfaces of things I don’t need or really want to have on them.
For instance, I cleared some shelves on the bookcase by my comfy chair the other day, removing books that had sat there collecting dust for at least a year, making the very idea of dusting about as appealing as bathing in a vat of rancid cooking oil.
I removed the books, passed them on to my husband, saying “I don’t really need to keep these, so if cash4book.net wants any, they’re welcome to them.” I wouldn’t mind passing them to interested family members or acquaintances, either. I just want them out of the house, reducing the amount of stuff we have to “organize” (i.e. keep track of).
I read most of my books on my Kindle Fire or my iPhone, anyway, and I know that we could one day have a solar flare or some other massive energy pulse that fries our electronic devices, instantly cutting me off from my electronic library, so I’m not ditching all my books, but…I’m putting them in a place that doesn’t require dusting — for now, anyway.
Resources for making your home livable and low-energy-friendly
In my zeal for minimalism, I’ve picked up a few eBooks which may sound familiar to you. These are the ones I’m reading, now:
- Simplify by Joshua Becker
- 10-Minute Declutter by S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
- Mini-Missions for Simplicity by Courtney Carver
And here are some books on my to-read list (waiting for me in my Kindle library):
- Clutter-free with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home. by Joshua Becker
- Declutter your Mind by S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
- Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify by Francine Jay
I’m working on my blog’s Resource Page, and you’ll find these books there, as well as many others I’ve read, am reading, or have on my to-read list.
Has hypothyroidism made you more sensitive?
When you go through life highly sensitive to sensory stimuli, you can’t help but be affected by what you see, hear, smell, and touch in your environment. Hypothyroidism tends to increase this particular kind of sensitivity, since it affects the central nervous system. It’s easier to get overwhelmed. The clutter you see takes up space inside you, too. It's harder to separate the mess and the noise from the stuff you want to see and hear and focus on.Click To Tweet
So, minimalism has become my thing — or one of my things. I feel calmer in a clutter-free room. I feel better able to focus on what I’m trying to read or on a conversation I’m trying to keep track of. I took a test some years ago for ADHD and, according to that particular test and the particular psychotherapist who administered it, I have “moderate to severe ADHD: Combined Type.” To this day, I don’t know whether my ADHD traits stem from undertreated hypothyroidism or if they’re related in any way.
Brain function and thyroid function are related, though; each influences the other. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if both my ADHD traits and my underactive (mutant) thyroid have to do with a disconnect in that relationship.
Anxiety, social anxiety, and clutter
The psychotherapist was more concerned with my anxiety than with the ADHD. And he was particularly interested with what he called my “social anxiety.” I knew I was an introvert, but I wasn’t anxious about that. The anxiety came from knowing how social interaction exhausted me and made it harder to think and to function afterward. I had low energy to begin with; I didn’t want to spend precious energy on small talk.
Clutter exhausts me, too, because it stresses me out — knowing it’s there and needs to be “sorted.” It’s like having someone stand just behind you and tap his foot loudly with folded arms and a stern look while you’re trying to write something coherent.
When I’m at home, I spend most of my time in the upstairs living room, which adjoins the kitchen (which is the bane of my existence, but that’s a topic for another post). It’s the room in which I feel most at home. I don’t have a bedroom, right now, or a private office. The living room is both, as well as a place for the family to meet together.
The living room is my haven.
The family room downstairs is cluttered with most of the toys and kids’ books. I don’t go there unless I’m wanted there for some reason. And I bring coffee (or something comforting). I don’t even want to think about what a nightmare it would be to move all the stuff in our house, even if most of it wouldn’t be moving with us.
Most of it would be either tossed, donated, or passed on to someone we know. So, why can’t I start doing that now? Because most of that stuff isn’t mine. I go there, and I feel cluttered inside with stuff that doesn’t matter to me.
Granted, some of those items are important to someone, but a lot of them really aren’t anymore. They’re just there, because it’s easier to keep them “just in case.”
I’m not saying we should get rid of all the Legos and Duplos and the Erector Sets and puzzles and…all the kits that are supposed to encourage kids to create and to learn how things work. I’m a big fan of educational toys. They were a big help when I was homeschooling, because it kept our youngest busy while I avoided actually teaching his older siblings from the textbooks and workbooks that looked so much better untouched on our shelves than open in front of us.
Seriously, those things are brain death with colorful wrappers.
Come to think of it, the bookshelves look way better now without the homeschool books.
I’ve put up Command hooks by my comfy chair to hold the few scarves I’ve kept (the ones I actually use). It makes them easy to find, and they add some color to that corner of the room. Plus, I’m more likely to use them if I see them.
Same with vegetables. If they need to be refrigerated, the chances of my actually eating them are pretty slim.
Minimalist blogs to check out
There are many blogs that provide useful information for budding minimalists (even those not driven to it by thyroid dysfunction or ADHD).
- ZenHabits.net by Leo Babauta
- BecomingMinimalist.com by Joshua Becker
- TheMinimalists.com by Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus
- MissMinimalist.com by Francine Jay
- BeMoreWithLess.com by Courtney Carver
- MimimalistPackrat.com by Tanja Hoagland & Patrick Ray
- 365LessThings.com by Colleen Madsen
[Update: I’m adding a website I’ve just discovered, thanks to a book I recently read — The Mindset of Organization: Take Back Your House One Phase At a Time by Lisa Woodruff. Lisa has a website that provides a lot of resources I can use. One of my new favorites is her page of articles on ADHD and organizing. Check it out:
Organizing 365.com with Lisa Woodruff]
There are more. Many more. I racked up some serious Swagbucks looking for them. Well … 8 Swagbucks, since some of the blogs had lists of other minimalist blogs, and Swagbucks doesn’t reward me for clicking on those links (Pfft!). But I’m 8 Swagbucks richer, and I found some more books that might end up on my to-read list.
For now, they’re on my “maybe I’ll download a sample, after I’ve read the samples I already have” list. I also added some to my “List” on Amazon, which is getting mighty long and probably needs to be …sorted.
Clutter is everywhere!
Some of it just hides better. Sometimes, that’s enough — for a while — but I still know it’s there … waiting for me…to do something about it.
Come to think of it, S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport also write a book called 10-Minute Digital Declutter: The Simple Habit to Eliminate Overwhelm from Technology, Social Media, and Online Distractions. It’s only $2.99. Their other book, 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home — which I already have — also costs $2.99 and is worth more than that.
So, feel free to take a peek. I’ll be listening to my 10-Minute Declutter book on audio tonight, since I bought the Audible version ($1.99) <high-fiving myself>.
I love audio books. Hands-free, and I get to close my eyes for a while. If my eyes could kiss me, they would.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I hope you found something in this post you can put to use and enjoy. Also, if you have ideas of your own for making your house more hypothyroid-friendly (or ADHD-friendly), please share in the comment section! 🙂
*Just to clear the air, the book links in this post are affiliate links (with Amazon). The website links are not. I’m terrible at selling things I wouldn’t buy myself, and I won’t post an affiliate link for a book I don’t think is worth the money. Feel free to click over and take a peek at any of them, but no pressure to buy any.