When your parents used to threaten to ground you if you didn’t clean your room, it’s possible they were just looking out for your mental health. A University of California study took a look at the stress hormone levels in 30 couples. The results? The levels of cortisol were significantly higher in women that described their home as messy or chaotic. Men seemed to be more immune to clutter, which might also explain why that toilet seat always gets left up.
You don’t have to be on an episode of Hoarders to feel the mental side affects of clutter. So what’s the correlation between a mess and stress?
1) Missing those keys? Can’t find that file for work? You can count on that increasing both levels of frustration and cortisol.
2) Clutter causes our minds to do extra mental lifting. Those messes translate to added stimuli, that wouldn’t exist with an uncluttered home or office.
3) That pile of papers of the desk? It represents a constant reminder of work that needs to be done.
4) Imagine trying to write a paper with the jackhammer of a construction worker outside your office. Clutter is a distraction, pulling your attention away from the task at hand.
We’ll avoid cluttering the page with too many more reasons, but how about we instead focus on methods of decluttering your life? Here are a few tips:
1) Treat your home like a filing cabinet. Have designated spots for household items that don’t get frequent use. Try to limit them to drawers, cabinets or closets to keep stimuli to a minimum. As the adage goes, out of sight of mind.
2) Don’t use it? Don’t keep it. Seems simple, but how often to we hold onto that “As Seen on TV” item we couldn’t live without or that pair of heels that haven’t seen the light of day for years? Clean your clutter and do some good in the process, by donating your unused items.
3) How much time would we save if we simply put things away when we were done with them? The answer is a lot. We have bigger things to worry about than clutter, so take those extra few seconds to put an item away as soon you’re done using it.
4) Keep cleaning fun! Add some music to the mix or brush up on your basketball skills when tossing out that spam mail. Treat it like a chore and it’ll feel like a chore.
Are you buried beneath that clutter and don’t know where to start? Don’t be afraid to bring in the reinforcements. Make it a family affair or bring in the professionals. A cleaning company can be a great way to get things to a more manageable place or simply eliminate the stress of household chores entirely with regular appointments. Whatever you decide, don’t let your brain get cluttered with the clutter around you.