Keeping your apartment, your office, or even your car clean and organized can be a challenge. Heck, I can’t even keep my planner as tidy as I would want to. Now, you might think that an overcrowded closet or desk is not a big deal. But did you know that clutter has negative psychological effects on you?
Whether it’s your office desk or your garage, clutter in your surroundings can harm your attention and information processing skills. A Princeton University study found that your brain performs better in an organized, uncluttered environment. They also found that clutter basically takes over your brain and makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed, unable to focus on the things and people that matter the most. Everything around you is competing for your attention and your mess can get in the way.
Conversely, just as clutter can bring you down, getting rid of it has positive effects on you, making you happier and more productive.
“Outer order contributes to inner calm,” writes Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. She’s also stated that “eliminating clutter [can] cut down the amount of housework in the average home by 40 percent.” Doesn’t that sound great? Getting rid of clutter can cut your household work in half! That’s bound to get some points with the wife.
Besides making your cleaning days easier, the after-effect of organizing your surroundings can be more pleasurable than you think.
First of all, it makes you feel useful. By getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and organizing your house or your office, you’ll feel accomplished, happier and more energetic.
In addition, checking things such as cleaning off a list releases dopamine, the hormone that our body releases in pleasurable moments such as sex or devouring a medium-rare steak. Getting some decluttering done will make you feel better.
Organizing and getting rid of unnecessary things also makes you more relaxed. You’ll find peace by tackling a messy closet, or a crowded countertop. “The sense of tangible progress, control, and orderliness can be a comfort. This always works for me – and fortunately, my family is messy enough that I always have plenty of therapeutic clutter at hand,” says Rubin.
An important thing to remember when tackling clutter is to be okay with imperfection. You’re never going to get rid of everything you don’t need in one day and that’s okay! As long as each day you’re working at it and slowly but surely decluttering your surroundings, you’ll find inner peace, happiness and you will feel more productive.