Do you look around your house or apartment with dread, wondering when you’ll find the time to clean up the clutter? You’re not alone.
The ease of online shopping and doorstep delivery has made accumulation almost a daily habit. Items easily pile up, quickly throwing our homes into disorder. As items pile up, it can become overwhelming, adding even more stress to already stressful lives, which can also bring additional negative health impacts.
To help get you started, look to the Japanese and the idea of Mottainai, which translates to “don’t be wasteful.” This means thinking about living off what you need, using items to their full extent, and paying respect to those items that bring you joy. And according to UnitedHealthcare Florida’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, several studies have shown that this decluttering way of life and reducing “clutter stress” may also have positive impacts on your health, such as:
Reduced stress: Clutter may cause stress. According to one study, people living in cluttered homes had higher levels of cortisol– the stress-causing hormone – in their bodies. Another study found women who consider their home stressful due to clutter or unfinished projects rather than restorative had increased depressed moods over the course of the day.
Deeper sleep: This goes hand and hand with reduced stress. Less stress can mean better sleep. A survey conducted for the National Sleep Foundation found those who make their bed in the morning were 19 percent more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep on most days.
Decluttering your home shouldn’t be all about you. Make it a family affair by having your spouse and kids chip in and teach them the value and importance of letting go of items they no longer need or want. Add some incentive by holding a garage sale and letting everyone keep the earnings from sales of their items. Then take the rest to the donation center.
Productivity boost: Clutter may be overstimulating and distracting. According to a Princeton Neuroscience Institute study, the number of items you can see affects your ability to concentrate. Getting rid of clutter may help you work more efficiently, increasing productivity.
Healthier eating habits: A study found people with extremely cluttered homes were 77 percent more likely to be overweight. Emotional eating can be triggered by stress. Tidying up your home may reduce your stress levels, which may help you avoid grabbing unhealthy snacks.
With so much clothing, decorations and keepsakes it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Here are some tips to consider:
Be patient: Clearing out your home is going to take time. Be patient and do a thorough job so it’ll last.
Pick an area to focus on: Try starting with your kitchen, which is found to be one of the most cluttered spaces in most homes. Get rid of expired condiments or chipped dishes. Then move on to clothing, even a drawer or closet at a time. Keep what’s essential and donate the rest. Gradually make your way through your home, getting rid of things that just take up space and don’t provide a useful purpose.
Everything in its place: Once all items have a designated place, you won’t have to think about it again. Cleaning up will be easier and the clutter will stay away.
Keep up with decluttering: After your home is organized, keep it that way. Put items back in their places each day, to minimize a potential buildup of clutter.
For more information and free tips on healthy living, visit www.newsroom.uhc.com.