Written for & published by In Her Shoes Foundation (2013)
By Melissa Doman, M.A.
“I can’t concentrate with this mess all around me!”
Are you talking about the literal mess in your living room, or a general feeling of chaos in your life? No matter what the answer is, did you know that the two could actually be linked?
When we live in a state of disarray, correlations have been shown that in fact living amongst mess and disorganization can cause us to feel disoriented, down, and lead to having problems being productive in day-to-day life.
So, calling all pack rats and 16-year-old mess level folks, it’s time to clear out your dwellings and tidy up your lives!
Whether the clutter is stressing you out, or you’re going through a blue period from other stressors that left you feeling apathetic about staying organized, it’s important to nip the problem in bud. You, and only you, can get this project started. Life is stressful enough, so the last thing you need to come home are piles of clutter that make you feel like you live in a trash heap. Attempt to organize your home to feel more of a sense of balance and calm.
Now, there’s no need to become a neurotically obsessive cleaner, but it’s time to start making regular goals that you hold yourself accountable to organize your home, work, and other living spaces. You’ll find that as you get things in order and get rid of junk that you’ll feel less discombobulated and more at ease.
According to PsychologyToday.com, here are 8 reasons why disorganization makes you feel icky and 8 remedies to take care of that disarray.
8 Reasons Why A Mess Leads to Stress:
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what we need to focus on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter makes us anxious because we're not sure how long it’ll take to clear it all.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt ("I should be more organized") and embarrassment especially when others unexpectedly drop by.
- Clutter inhibits creativity/productivity by invading spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly.
8 Ways To Take Care Of That Mess:
- Tackle de-cluttering with the help from a friend.
- Assign specific spaces for frequently used items so you can find them quickly as needed.
- If you don't use it, don't want it, or don't need it, then get rid of it! You’ll feel so much better donating your items to those who need it more than you.
- When you take something out of its designated space to use it, put it back immediately after you're finished with it. This takes practice and commitment!
- Create a list of pending projects. It keeps all your to-dos in one place.
- Don't let random papers pile up at your house. Be conscious of what you and others bring into your space.
- De-clutter your primary workspace before you leave it. Not only will this give you a sense of closure when you leave, it will also make you feel good when you return to a nice, clean space.
- Have a dance party! While you’re cleaning put on your favorite music and dance like nobody is watching.
If you feel like your mess it too big to tackle on your own, or if you work 80 hours a week and simply don’t have the time, you can always enlist the help of a professional organizer. Not only will they sift through and organize your space, but they may also give you some tips on how to maintain that orderliness.
I know some of you are fantasizing right now about taking a trip to The Container Store. It's ok, I am too.