Piles of laundry to fold, stacks of papers to file and endless to-do lists are exhausting and can affect all aspects of your life, especially your mental and physical health! Clearing away the clutter may help you make healthier decisions, improve your workflow and super-charge your relationships.
Everyone has a different tolerance level to the disorder in our lives. How do you know when you’ve reached the tipping point between an acceptable level of clutter and an intolerable amount? To paraphrase what organization expert Julie Morgenstern writes in her book Organizing from the Inside Out, if you can find what you need when you need it, are happy in your space, and don’t feel like your clutter is getting in your way, you are sufficiently well organized. She believes that being organized is more about function than appearance.
On the other hand, if you are ashamed of your home or office, avoid going home and find alternative work space, or feel stressed at home, these are signs your clutter is problematic and time to make immediate changes.
According to a research study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women are less tolerant of clutter than men. Those women who described their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative. It’s no surprise that taking the time to tackle those piles of laundry, sort through stacks of papers, and spruce up your space won’t just clear away the physical clutter, it’ll actually help you feel happier and more relaxed and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
A decluttered workspace can help in making healthier food choices as well, says a study that was published in the Psychological Science Journal. The study indicates that people who worked in a neat space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who worked in a messy office for the same amount of time. 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.
Reducing clutter in a work environment will improve productivity and efficiency so you will not only be able to finish projects in a timely manner but will leave time in your daily schedule to take time for exercise and additional sleep. In addition, being more organized allows time for meal planning, food preparation and carefully thought out grocery shopping trips.
So, it goes without saying that making time to declutter your surroundings is good for your mind, heart and soul. Make it a New Year’s resolution to start the year off refreshed and uncluttered. There are many resources available to motivate yourself to declutter, but the truth of the matter is, when you start to feel overwhelmed, its time to assess your physical surroundings and do a thorough tidy-up!