Everyone has different living preferences. People practice various levels of tidiness in their home or work environments.
That said, regardless of what the standard might be from one person to another, keeping things tidy can be beneficial to your mental health. The more physical things surrounding you at any given time, the more your focus becomes distracted; the sheer number of objects can overwhelm and distract your attention. Your brain will file the clutter around you as added responsibilities and unfinished tasks, which will in turn increase stress and anxiety. There might even be relationship stresses related to who does cleaning or organizing between you and a roommate, or you and a significant other.
Taking time to organize might feel time consuming, but decluttering might actually save time as your work becomes more focused. In terms of mental health outcomes, studies have shown that messier, more stressful environments are linked to higher cortisol levels (the body’s stress hormone) and negative mood. Meanwhile, less cluttered, more restorative household environments revealed lower cortisol levels and more frequent positive moods. If there is tension with someone you’re sharing a living space with, this might be something set boundaries around and have a clear understanding about household responsibilities
If decluttering feels too big of a task, you can break down your tidying sessions into 15 or 30 minute increments each day. There is an array of benefits you might find including:
Your space feels less physically overwhelming
You have a sense of control over your environment and a greater sense of stability.
You might find items you lost or misplaced
You experience higher levels of clarity and creativity
You have more positive feelings towards your work/daily activities and those around
You feel a greater sense of peace
You have a greater ability to keep track of tasks and responsibilities
Clark, Matthew. “How Decluttering Your Space Could Make You Healthier and Happier.” Healthy Lifestyle, Mayo Clinic, 20 May 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/how-decluttering-your-space-could-make-you-healthier-and-happier/art-20390064.
Gordon, Sherri. “Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning and Decluttering.” Verywell Mind, VeryWellMind, 23 Feb. 2021, www.verywellmind.com/how-mental-health-and-cleaning-are-connected-5097496.
Porter, Kate. “Why Decluttering Is Good for Your Mental Health.” Healthy UNH, University of New Hampshire, 22 Nov. 2021, www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blog/emotional-wellness/2021/11/why-decluttering-good-your-mental-health.
Saxbe, Darby E., and Rena Repetti. “No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 71–81, doi:10.1177/0146167209352864.
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