We all know that clutter can be a nuisance—something that gets in the way or perhaps makes it difficult to have friends over. But did you know that a messy environment can negatively impact your mind and body as well?
Clutter isn’t just unsightly. It can be draining. It can also be stressful. In fact, studies point to a correlation between stress levels and clutter. Even simply having a messy desk or an overflowing inbox can weigh heavily on you.
We dream of doing it all: having healthy meals, a clean and organized house, a thriving job, and so much more. But in truth, as our schedules fill up and our lives become busy, organization and cleaning are the first things to go. However, having less mess can make a bigger impact than you might know. It can enable you to make healthier choices, reduce stress, and, ironically, can even help to free up some much-needed time!
“At the end of the day, being organized is about having more time for yourself and enabling you to live a more balanced life,” says Eva Selhub, M.D., author of Your Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer. If you have a list of things that need to be done, finding a way to practically deal with clutter can help.
Here’s a look at some very real ways that tidiness can help soothe both your body and mind.
It may sound simplistic, but piles of clothes or unfinished projects can leave you feeling stressed and unhappy. In fact, one study showed a link between high cortisol (or stress hormone levels) in women homeowners and a high density of household objects. It seems that the more stuff we have, the more stress we feel. This is a great incentive to cut back on the amount of thing that we own!
Replenishes Your Energy
Most of us find it difficult to function in chaos. When you’re surrounded by clutter, your mind often feels overwhelmed and overstimulated. Making decisions requires more energy, and it’s easy to feel constantly distracted. By having a clean area, you’ll be able to focus and make decisions more quickly and easily—saving yourself energy and time.
Can Help You to Eat Better
Believe it or not, being tidy can actually improve your health. Having a clear space to work in has been shown to make us want to eat more healthily! Clutter is tiring, and makes us more likely to reach for comfort foods rather than healthy, nutritious options. But having a clean space can reduce the amount of stress your brain is under, leading to improved eating habits.
Can Help You to Sleep Better
Less mess means less stress! And better sleep. According to one survey, people who make their beds every morning are 19 percent more likely to report regularly getting a good nights’ rest, and 75 percent of people said they got a better night’s sleep when their sheets were fresh and clean. In addition to a clean and organized bedroom, it’s also important to keep work-related tasks out of the bedroom. Checking your email and doing last-minute business on your phone can make it difficult to fall asleep!
Here are a few practical pointers for keeping your space clear…
- Cut Back: Try to keep your belongings to a minimum. The less there is to tidy and dust, the easier it is to keep your space clean!
- Sort Things: If you don’t use it and don’t love it, throw it out or donate it!
- Give Items a Home: Assign specific places for each item in a way that makes sense. It’ll be easier to find them when you need them.
- Stow Unused Items: Store seasonal items in the garage or attic. Out of sight and out of mind!
- Get Into a Routine: Make tidying a part of your day and your family’s day.
Finally, it’s important to realize that it’s not just physical clutter that’s harmful. Distractions and constant interruptions can also clamor for your attention and energy. Things like constantly checking your email, receiving notifications from social media, and reading the headlines are all unnecessary interruptions, and are in and of themselves a form of clutter.
If you’d like to claim back your time, look for ways to reduce some of the distractions and noise. Reclaiming both your space and your time can lead to improved health, satisfaction, energy, and productivity, allowing you to focus your attention on things that are more deserving of your time.
P.S. Plan your days with Day Designer and build your routine into your daily schedule to stay on top of it all!