There’s a certain closing-in feeling that comes from a disorganized living space. Remember that trash compactor scene in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope? Don’t put yourself in that situation! Be it clutter on your kitchen counters or a closet that overflows with clothes, disorganization can induce anxiety and stress. That clutter in your house can slowly bleed into other areas of your life, causing your wellness cup to overflow.
The Impact Of Disorganization
Whether you know it or not, a disorganized living space or workspace negatively impacts your physical and mental health. Some studies found a link between excess body weight and how much clutter you have. Clutter can affect your food choices, influencing you to eat unhealthy foods instead of healthier options. In regards to your mental health, unfinished projects and piles of your things contribute to increased rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, disorganization can negatively affect your personal relationships, which can also take a toll on your mental health.
Decluttering is a healthy practice, almost as important to your health as eating the right foods, exercising, and meditating. When you implement more organization into your life, you have a better chance at functioning better. Continue reading to find out how getting organized can boost your overall health.
Increase Your Ability To Focus
It probably goes without saying, but most people don’t like to tidy up. There are people who love to keep their place tidy, but the average person isn’t cleaning under the couch every day. You don’t have to clean every square inch of your house every day, but decluttering and organizing can benefit your brain. According to research, disorganization has a cumulative effect on the brain, which can drain your cognitive resources and reduce your ability to focus. When you invite more organization into your life, you are more likely to focus on the tasks at hand. This is especially true if you are someone who works from home. The visual reminder of misplaced or disorganized things can irritate you and cause stress, which detracts from your work.
Boost Your Mood
More often than not, the sight of clothes strewn across your floor elevates cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When you live in a cluttered environment, you always have extra items on your to-do list. Folding your clothes, putting them away, making your bed, picking up trash, or throwing out old things are extra to-do items that make it harder to accomplish other things. What results is a depleted feeling that makes you uninspired to do more things, so a wave of anxiety or depression washes over you. Studies show that cleaning and organizing are two excellent mindfulness exercises. When you focus on organizing, you actually clear your mind of other thoughts, making it so you don’t think about other responsibilities. This actually can improve your mood and decrease stress levels. Plus, you’ll have a cleaner living space at the end of it all!
Gain A Sense Of Control
How does gaining control benefit your health? An unorganized space can trigger anxiety symptoms and stress, making you feel that you have no control over your life. Cleaning is actually a great way to work toward changing the outcome. In the case of clutter, cleaning helps you change a disorganized space to an organized one. The reality is that it’s impossible to always have control over every stressful situation you encounter. You can, however, take control of your living space by organizing. Start small by reducing the amount of skin care products you have, or donating that pile of clothes you said you would donate five months ago. Lastly, engaging in repetitive behaviors like cleaning can be greatly beneficial for those with anxiety. The actions are predictable, so you know the outcome, which in turn provides you with a sense of control. This can help mitigate anxious feelings, giving you a sense of empowerment.
Improve Physical Health
One of the most common disorganized areas in the house is the kitchen. It’s very common to say things like, “I know I had this masher in this drawer, but now it isn’t!” And then you proceed to stress out as you look in 20 different locations for said masher. According to one study, stress that stems from clutter can lead to overeating and other similar coping strategies. When participants in the study were placed in a chaotic kitchen environment, they ate twice as many cookies as participants in a non-chaotic kitchen. Additionally, people with cleaner homes tend to be more active. Toss out your stale or expired items to begin the decluttering process. Then you can start grouping similar foods together in organized containers. Finally, get rid of old pans, especially if non-stick material is peeling.