Clear the Clutter. Clear Your Mind.

How many times do you lose your car keys amid that pile of “To Dos” on your desk? Or spend extra time looking through your purse to find your keys? Or miss the deadline for Bingo Night so you and your family miss out again this year? I could go on, but then you’d know a whole lot more about me than I’d like.

The truth is we all have a lot on our plates and keeping an organized, clutter-free home can help us keep focused…and help make our deadlines. Clearly, home organization and de-cluttering is a topic on many minds; the number one book on the NY Times List of Self Help Books (for 24 weeks standing!) is The Life – Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese author Marie Kondo. It’s also an international best seller.

So why the brouhaha about de-cluttering and getting organized? The benefits of living more organized and clutter-free are numerous. Topping the list is better overall health and happiness. Bottom line, says Jamey Altman, Ridgewood based Professional Home and Office Organizer, is that when you’re organized, “You have so much more time to spend with your family and more time to do the things you love to do.” What’s better than that?

A disorganized, messy home can be associated with serious health problems. Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAC, blogged that often, “… when patients describe their lives as messy, disorganized, or inefficient, they often experience symptoms of bloating, congestion, inflammation, and poor digestion. If left untreated, these symptoms can progress to more serious health conditions.” He continues, “When people clear their clutter, discard unnecessary items, and detoxify their surroundings, the spaciousness and resulting efficiency they create can offer more energy, in addition to improved digestion, detoxification, and overall vitality.” To me, that’s a pretty powerful reason for spending some time in my junk drawer!

Overall happiness and living clutter-free are positively correlated as well. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reported a study in which women who described their homes as “cluttered” were found to be more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative.” So get out those dust rags and start cleaning! According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a mere 20 minutes of cleaning can significantly improve depression.

But seriously, depending on the clutter, getting organized can be an overwhelming task. So how to begin? Altman recommends, “Start with something small, like a closet.” First, “get rid of what you haven’t used in 6 months or a year; and then begin section by section so you’re not overwhelmed. And be sure to finish what you start!” She adds, “You’ll have a clear closet and a clear mind!” How else do you decide what stays and what goes? Kondo suggests keeping things in your home only if they “spark joy.” Now who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by things that create a clear mind and more joy!?

Spring is an ideal time to get more organized! It’s a time of growth and renewal so take a deep breath and get to it!