“Get Organized” consistently ranks in the Top 10 of New Year’s resolutions. But for many people, the motivation lasts only through the cleaning of one closet before it fizzles. If piles of papers and clusters of clutter have taken over your life, perhaps this bit of information will recharge your organizational batteries: Organizing your physical spaces can be healthy for your mind, body and spirit.
Benefit No. 1: Reduced Stress Levels
Most likely, you already lead a pretty busy, and sometimes stressful, life. Clutter not only adds to your stress level, it can also make you feel anxious. Both conditions increase your risk of heart disease and your chance of suffering a fatal cardiac event. When you take a little bit of time to organize your surroundings, you feel more in control and relaxed. Score one for heart health.
Benefit No. 2: Improved Eating Habits
For many people, stress can trigger overeating or, at the very least, some unhealthy food choices. A recent study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found that people who worked in a clean, organized space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar as those who worked in a messy office for the same amount of time.
At home, make decluttering your kitchen a top priority. Clear countertops create an inviting workspace for meal prep. An organized pantry inspires you to eat more meals at home, which translates into better nutrition. When you no longer have to search the dark depths of your cabinets for ingredients, you’ll have more time to plan healthier meals and prep nutritious grab-and-go snacks for your family.
Benefit No. 3 Increased Productivity
Whether at home or work, disorganized spaces impact your ability to focus on any one task. Boost your productivity and efficiency by organizing your workspace, which includes your computer files. Having designated places and spaces for work projects, bills, toys and important papers means you reduce the amount of time spent searching for misplaced items and files. You’ll have more time for family, exercising and hobbies, all of which are good for your mind, body and spirit.
Benefit No. 4: Better Sleep
We already know that living a more organized lifestyle can reduce your stress level (see Benefit No. 1). When you’re not stressed, you get a better night’s rest, which also helps your heart. Do you know what else helps you sleep better? A tidy bedroom. According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to report regularly getting a good night’s sleep, and 75% of people surveyed reported a better night’s sleep when their sheets were fresh and clean because that small gesture increased their physical comfort.
If you’re drowning in debris, start small by choosing a single stack of papers, shelf or drawer each day. As you continue building the decluttering habit, you’ll likely begin to notice a healthier, happier you.