Allowing yourself to live clutter-free

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I have heard you speak over the years about losing weight after clearing your home of accumulated clutter. Can you share that story again?

For those of you who don’t know the story, as hard as it might be to believe, as I’m 5-foot-4-inches tall and a size 2, there was a time long ago when I weighed over 30-40 pounds more than I do now. A size 13 was a very snug fit.

I gradually lost most of that weight, and then about a dozen years ago, when I went from being on television to being on unemployment, 10 extra pounds crept back on.

During the time I was unemployed, I became interested in learning more about spirituality and personal growth. That search eventually led to a career as an astrologer, feng shui consultant, life guide, and now a business called Happiness U, where I advise and teach on all aspects of life.

The need for congruency

In the early days when on a feng shui consultation, I often would tell others to clear their clutter, but it never dawned on me to clear my own clutter, until one day a comment from my other half woke me up. He saw a pile of clutter in the trunk of my car and jokingly said in a theatrical voice, “Oh, feng shui consultant, do as I say, not as I do!” Although I made a lame excuse, deep down I was embarrassed and realized that the way I lived needed to be congruent with what I asked others to do.

I immediately set aside a full week and worked relentlessly. Besides ending up with a home that was for the most part clutter-free and a business that really started to move, I unexpectedly lost those extra 10 pounds I had regained.

Emotional clutter

Losing those 10 pounds as a result of clearing my clutter was the beginning of a path that led me to seeing that everything in our lives is interconnected, not only the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of ourselves, but the different parts of our lives as well — where we live, what we own, where we work, what we eat, how we socialize; everything is intimately linked. You can’t change one aspect of your life without affecting the others.

Decluttering has a ripple effect

When I decluttered my home, I also decluttered my mind and emotions, because I processed the memories and attachment to my things. This clarity and focus helped me to declutter my relationship to food, naturally shedding my emotional eating habits (e.g., nightly “must haves” of ice cream, cookies and chocolate).

What I’ve found is that when you clear the junk in your environment, you also clear patterns of behavior that have been holding you back, and the ripple effect influences multiple aspects of your life.

Send questions to Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U, Visit