Want a secret weapon for less stress? Get organized. Fact is, everyday we start and end our days in our homes. How much more productive and happy would we be if we had an inspiring place to wake up to and a soothing place to come home to? According to research, a lot! Evidence suggests that increased clutter in our homes has the power to increase our stress, waste our time and money, and decrease our focus!1
The Benefits of Organizing Your Home
1) Reduce Stress
Have you ever felt embarrassed when guests come over or felt that you have to extensively clean up to prepare for their arrival? Do you feel stressed each time you enter a room and immediately think of all the tidying up that needs to be done? When your home feels disorganized, simple tasks like finding your car keys or folding laundry can become unnecessarily difficult with mess.2 One survey even found that one-third of respondents admitted that they avoided spending time at home so they didn’t have to deal with their mess.3
2) Save Time & Money
Looking for lost items like your wallet or a specific pair of shoes every day can quickly add up to a huge time drain. Even when the lost item is right in front of us, it can become difficult to see it amid all the surrounding clutter. In turn, when we can’t find essential items we have to resort to replacing lost items and buying duplicates.4
3) Improve Focus
Clutter also makes it harder to focus. A cluttered environment can make your brain less effective at processing information and more prone to frustration.5
Let’s Get Organized
While these benefits sure do sound appealing, getting organized can often be more difficult than it sounds. And while you don’t need everything alphabetized and Pinterest perfect, it is important to have your things in a place that makes sense so you can find them later. Here are eight organizing strategies you can use to create a peaceful, stress-free home.
1. Before You Can Get Clutter Out, You Have to Stop It From Getting In
One of the best ways to control clutter is by preventing it from entering your home in the first place. Anything from junk mail, to IKEA catalogues, or free branded notepads you might pick up at events, all usually result in unused and unnecessary clutter around your house. Try to avoid buy-one-get-one-free deals and bargains that make you buy more than you need too. Because, seriously - are you ever really going to use six boxes of staples? Once you halt the incoming flow of excess stuff, it will be much easier to maintain your decluttering and organizing efforts.
2. Start Practicing the 2-Minute Rule
If something will take less than 2 minutes to complete, do it right away. Instead of picking up mail and tossing it into a pile to open later, or putting a dish in the sink to clean later, commit to decluttering tasks the moment they arise if they take less than two minutes to complete. This gets things out of the way with at the start before they even become a task on your to-do list.
3. Collect Your Clutter and Divide
The next time you see items sitting around the house in disarray, grab a box and throw everything that doesn’t have a place inside. Once you’ve collected all your miscellaneous items, separate each into 4 piles: things to donate, things to throw away, things to keep, and things to store. Next, carefully go through your "things to keep pile" and find a new home for each item. Make sure its a logical place that’s in the same area where it’ll need to be used. For example, keep keys by the door.
Want to know to figure out if it’s time to let go of something? Read this post on the 5 things to get rid of in your home.
4. Remember the Prime Real Estate Rule
The notion of “prime real estate” is a key teaching of almost every professional organizer. In its essence, the rule is that you keep the things you need and use the most in the closest and most convenient spaces. For example, if you use something every week, it should have a home in your daily living space. If the item is something you use just a couple times a year, then it should be placed in a more long-term storage space. With summer coming to a close, saying a temporary goodbye to items you know you won't need for another couple months, like beach towels and bathing suits can make all the difference in lightening your clutter load. Second Closet will come to pick up your stuff, store it, and deliver it back to you when needed again in the summer months.6
5. Go Paperless
If you find yourself drowning in paperwork every time you step into your basement, you’re not alone. Many items, like tax returns, medical bills, receipts, and business expenses have to be kept for future reference, and usually for several years afterwards. In a small space, these piles of permanent papers can start to build up and get in the way of more important items, slowing you down and causing unnecessary stress every time you open a drawer. The fewer stacks of stuff to contend with, the more space you'll have for the things that matter most to you. Leave it to Second Closet to keep your old paperwork out of your way in a safe, secure and temperature controlled facility for safekeeping.7
6. Make Your Home a Peaceful Place
Once you have your home decluttered and organized, you can add a few nice touches that can make your home the ideal haven for you to relax. What calms you down? If it’s taking time to journal or read, carve out space in your place for a little reading nook. If it's a morning yoga or stretching session, leave a dedicated yoga matt in a tucked away corner.8
7. Keep it Consistent
One of the challenges of maintaining stress-relieving habits is that we get busy and let other activities in our lives take priority. Prioritize decluttering by taking just 15 minutes every day to speed clean through your house and address any new incoming clutter from your day. You can get a lot done in 15 minutes and it doesn’t impact your schedule too much to do so. Straighten up the pillows on the sofa, wipe down the kitchen countertops, take out the trash and start the dishwasher!9
8. Watch Out for Your Hot Spots
Since clutter tends to accumulate in the same places, take note of the zones that heighten your stress, like the front door or the kitchen table. Give extra focus on the areas where you tend to leave clutter at the end of each day, so they don’t turn into big piles again.
Take Control of Your Clutter and Take Control of Your Life
Don't let your clutter control you. Start small with one shelf and pile at a time and remind yourself that you don't have to tackle the entire project in just one day. Make sure to read our step-by-step post on decluttering your home in 2019, and download our FREE Complete Guide to Decluttering Your Home to find out the best approach to organizing based on your personality type. Organizing is hard work, but in the end you will feel as if a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders.
- NBC News, Why Clutter is Killing Your Focus and How to Fix it
- Prevention, How To Declutter Every Room In Your House To Reduce Anxiety And Stress
- Hartford Courant Real Estate, Clearing Out The Clutter
- Verywellmind, The Cost of Clutter in Your Life
- Mayo Clinic, How decluttering your space could make you healthier and happier
- HGTV, Get Organized and Control the Clutter
- Huff Post, 3 Easy Tricks To Get Organized And Reduce Stress
- Verywellmind, 5 Elements of a Peaceful Home
- HGTV, How to Reduce Clutter to Reduce Stress