The health effects of tidying up

The health effects of tidying up

Have you been swept up by the trend to tidy up? Netflix recently premiered a reality show based on Marie Kondo’s bestselling novel about organization, and now people everywhere are purging their belongings. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift shops have reported record donations nationwide as people empty their closets and cupboards.

Why are so many people swept up by a desire to purge and organize? Turns out, there are plenty of psychological and physical benefits to being organized.

Studies have shown that living in a clean and organized space gives people a sense of control, easing feelings of anxiety and stress. A 2010 study found women who described their living space as cluttered or disorganized had higher stress levels than those who described their space as neat. And a recent study by researchers at Indiana University found people with clean houses were healthier than those who lived in messy ones.

How do you reap the benefits of tidying up? First, don’t expect perfection. You aren’t Marie Kondo, and you don’t have to live in a perfectly tidy and clutter-free space. Instead, begin slowly, taking time to rid yourself of items that don’t spark joy. Commit 30 minutes to an hour to cleaning and focus on one room each weekend.

Donate what you can, and place the remainder in trash or recycling bins, as appropriate. De-clutter by category, beginning with clothing, then books, and then miscellaneous belongings.

Science says that when we feel organized externally, we feel calmer internally and healthier overall. So, the next time you have a free weekend, take some time to tidy up and see how much more relaxed you feel.

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