Declutter, Feel Better

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

We did the “spring cleaning” thing several months ago. I went through closets, sifted through mystery stacks of paper, tackled the attic, donated lots of boxes and bags, and enjoyed a sense of accomplishment. But it’s now almost fall. And as many times as I promised myself I was going to keep up with the stuff that somehow accumulates in my house, I didn’t. And it’s stressing me out.

Psychologists talk about how chronic clutter can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. You might get frustrated more easily or have a hard time focusing, and some experts believe it’s tougher to make the best, healthiest choices for yourself in a messy home. We recently talked about how reorganizing your kitchen can help you lose weight. But how you keep the rest of the house impacts your health as well, and not only in terms of stress: research also suggests a link between clutter and obesity.

To take back control, my plan is to start small. My desk at home, for example, is a shambles and a constant source of agitation. So I’ll start there; I’ll declutter to feel better. For you, maybe it’s an overstuffed drawer or stack of bills that need to be filed. Whatever your sore spot, begin with something manageable, so you can start and finish. For the bigger projects, call in some reinforcements: tackle the den or section of the garage as a family, or ask a friend to come give you a hand. Focus on one project at a time. And don’t be too hard on yourself as you once again take on the attic: self-compassion can help keep stress levels down and makes it easier to learn from your mistakes.