Stressed out? Then get organized!

We all know the feeling when there’s just too much to do. The endless barrage of whatever it is: doing laundry, sifting through mail and old paperwork, buying birthday gifts, and don’t forget about that friends trip you promised to plan.

It all adds up, and it definitely doesn’t lead to a good night’s sleep. Too long a list (read: stress!) can negatively affect productivity at work, lead to friction in relationships at home, and just be a generally bad time.

Scientific research also shows that our physical space and comfort can be deeply tied to our mental health. A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people with cluttered homes were significantly more likely to experience stress and fatigue.

Sometimes there are things we don’t immediately think about that add clutter to our lives. Things we see every day, but don’t take the time to resolve and so they continue to take up brain space, even if we don’t recognize it.

You know what we’re talking about. The heavy suitcase that always threatens to fall down from the top rack of the closet and break your nose. The skis under the bed that stubbed your big toe last week, right after you got out of bed. The air fryer gift you were really excited about, but just couldn’t make space for (Sorry Mom, the espresso machine won out). Each thing on it’s own isn’t so bad, but the cumulative effect of unfinished projects and clutter can seriously add up.

We know it’s a problem, but how do we get rid of that feeling of, “I have so much to deal with”? At some point, we have to face it--only then can the stress begin to melt away. So what to do? Make a list! And get your space organized.

Start with the question, “what can I live without for this week?” Or if not this week, what could you live without for the entire month? Set those things aside.

Now, this is where you have to be completely honest. You know Marie Kondo’s clever catchphrase, “does this spark joy?” Some items are best to give away to those who may need it more. And let’s be honest, some things just are past their useful life--time to go in the trash. Other things you’ll want to keep around, just not around your kitchen or bedroom. Face it, you can’t really throw away Mom’s wedding dress or the tax files for your side business.

For those things, it’s time to find them a new home. Find some clear plastic bins (boxes also work!) and put those extra things of yours neatly inside. Label each container with masking tape and a marker, in a way that you’ll easily know what they are later on. Find a friend and take a few minutes to place the containers in their new home--whether it’s a basement storage locker, an extra bedroom, a friend’s house, or perhaps a friendly neighborhood storage unit (we can help with that!).

When it’s all done, take a moment to recognize what you did, and how much less cluttered your space is. Does it feel brighter? More carefree, or fresh? You did that. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your clean and organized home! You deserve it.