Is your mess causing you stress?
OK, so maybe you're not going to be featured on an episode of Hoarders anytime soon, but your piles of stuff are slowly killing you — or at least, making you feel significantly worse than you should.
A stress survey conducted on behalf of the Huffington Post revealed home organization is one of the most common stress triggers. 84 percent of those polled worry their home isn't clean or organized enough, and 87 percent of the women polled experience anxiety over maintaining their homes.
The primary cause of home-related anxiety? Clutter. What's worse, those surveyed who are stressed about their homes are also more stressed overall.
Why mess leads to stress
Clutter is a catalyst that constantly demands your attention. It decreases productivity and task performance, and increases your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also creates a tsunami of personal issues, including:
Why we allow this to happen is the million-dollar question. For many of us, it's a gradual buildup we don't notice until we hit our breaking point, and as it turns out, parting with items we feel connected to hurts. Literally.
A study conducted by Yale University found the two areas of your brain associated with pain are the ones that activate when you throw out items you feel a connection toward. It doesn't matter whether it's a financial connection or an emotional one — pain is pain.
For the past 10 years, I've been living in an apartment the size of a closet. After my relationship ended last year, I started a major purging session that lasted six months and saw me getting rid of almost 40 bags of stuff! After I was done it looked like I'd been robbed — and it felt amazing!
Here are a few simple guidelines to get you started. With each item you're deciding to get rid of, ask yourself:
If you start to worry you'll throw something out you'll later regret, don't. Only keep the items you're not hesitating about — anything you agonize over or attempt to justify isn't meant to be in your home.
Seriously, try it! Throw out just one item. The initial pain will turn into exhilaration, especially when it sinks in that you'll no longer have to dust it, feel guilty about it or trip over it just to live your life.
More reasons to declutter
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