Have you ever looked around your home or office and felt like piles of papers and clutter are everywhere you look? Do you often open closets or drawers wondering when you’ll ever find time to organize them? Do you have so many tabs open in your brain that you don’t even know where to begin?
You’re certainly not alone. At some time or another—we all dream of a sparkling house with neatly-organized closets, or a tidy kitchen without a mountain of dishes looming in the sink, or an impeccably managed checking account with everything balanced at the end of the month. In other words, we all dream of being more organized!
While most of us know that getting organized makes life easier, did you know that disorganization can actually have adverse effects to your well-being?
Lynne Gilberg, a professional organizer in West Los Angeles, California says that clutter is bad for your physical as well as your mental health. “When people see clutter, they use language like ‘suffocating,’ and ‘I can’t breathe,” she says.
Despite the overwhelming feelings that clutter and disorganization cause, many of us still feel the need to stockpile and surround ourselves with yet more stuff. We have an insatiable need to have more, or newer, or better—and before we know it, we’ve accumulated so many things that there’s no room for us to think or breathe. While the reasons for holding onto items range from being sentimental to procrastinating, the truth is that 47% express anxiety over the disorganized array of clutter in their lives.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that clutter can impact your life. See why being disorganized in the home can cause a tremendous amount of frustration in your life—and then tune in for solutions all month long!
According to one study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people with cluttered homes that were full of unfinished projects were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher stress levels. This is because in these situations, the home is not a restful place where you can relax; instead, your mind is constantly racing with thoughts of what you need to do.
Leads to Poor Habits
According to a study in Psychological Science, participants that were in an orderly environment chose healthier snacks than those in a cluttered environment. “Clutter is stressful for the brain, so you’re more likely to resort to coping mechanisms such as choosing comfort foods or overeating than if you spend time in neater surroundings,” says Dr. Eva Shalhoub.
The stress of a disorganized home can actually hurt your relationships. It can cause rifts between you and your loved ones—and it can be stressful for children as well. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children living in a severely cluttered environment often have elevated levels of distress, experience less happiness, and have more difficulty making friends.
Then there’s the fact that clutter can put a strain on your finances, isolate you, and impact your ability to focus. It is a source of unnecessary frustration—and something that we should work to eliminate from our lives.
What causes this top source of overwhelm to take over our lives? If you’re in the middle of an organizational battle yourself, you may find yourself wondering how it all happened. After all, disorganization isn’t something that takes place overnight.
No one sets out to lead a disorganized life. How does it happen? Before we tap into how to fix it, what are some of the underlying causes that are behind disorganization?
It isn’t that you set out to be disorganized. In many cases, a lack of organization is a matter of habit. Over time, we tend to develop habits, even subconsciously. Things such as stashing, stacking, piling, and hiding are all bad habits that can eventually lead to a lifestyle of unintentional hoarding, disorganization, and clutter.
Procrastination is another culprit of order. Life gets busy and often things that should get done end up falling by the wayside. But as we all know, putting things off for too long can lead to chaos and clutter; and before we know it, we’re buried in it.
Making the Wrong Lists
Another offender is list making. Or, more specifically, making the wrong type of lists. Often, we create one long, giant list and fail to break it down into small, manageable steps. Having a giant list of tasks looming over us, without any order of priority, or dates or deadlines attached, only serves to overwhelm and discourage us; which can lead to procrastination.
While we all struggle with disorganization in one form or another, and taking the time to deal with it is essential! It all starts by making small changes, in the right direction. Slowly, and in time, you’ll find that your life begins to become more organized; which will benefit you in so more ways than one.
The benefits of organization are clear. Being organized creates less stress in your life—and when you know what you’re doing at a glance, or where items are located, instantly, it’ll save you time. This, in turn, has a trickle-down effect on every aspect of your life; enabling you to finish projects more easily, be more productive, feel less stress, and even breathe a bit more easily as well!
While getting organized can be hard work, in our blog series this month, we’ll take you through all of the steps that you need to follow to create order out of chaos. It’s not always easy, but in the end, you’ll feel like a new person—lighter and freer—like a burden’s been taken off of your shoulders. It’ll have an impact on every aspect of your life. So be sure to stay tuned for upcoming posts!