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Clutter Can Cause More Stress Than You May Think!

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You can be stressed out by work, relationships and your daily commute but, is your home also stressing you out? A survey of over 1,000 adults conducted on behalf of the Huffington Post found that a staggering 70% of those who are stressed about home organization tend to be more stressed out in general. It’s no wonder either, as all of that clutter is a physical representation of all of the things you have to do. Clutter can very quickly and very easily turn your home from a relaxing sanctuary to a derelict abyss but it doesn’t only affect your home, it affects many other facets of your life as well. Here are a few examples:

  • Productivity: An article in Newsweek stated that, “The average American wastes 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things they own but can’t find.” This accounts for decreased productivity at work and even at home. How are you expected to get something done if you can’t even find it in the first place?
  • Social Life: A Cluttered home can significantly decrease your social life or worse, eliminate it all together, as you slowly stop inviting friends and family over to your house for fear of embarrassment. Or, you just don’t have the energy for the all-day clean-up session you know will have to happen before-hand. Clutter, especially in very large quantities, is notorious for turning even the most social person into a hermit.
  • Reputation: Clutter is typically the main culprit for creating bad reputations. You’re always late because you can never find your keys; You missed your appointment again because you aren’t sure where you put your appointment reminder card; You’re never asked to take part in the kids’ carpool group for soccer practice because your car is a disaster and you’ll probably get them all there late; Your boss set a new policy that all employees make copies of their forms before they submit them to you “in case” they get lost. You get the idea. No one wants to be that person!

Don’t be discouraged though! Clutter problems have very easy solutions and, chances are, you already have many organizational systems in place that are working perfectly in your household right now. For example, if I went to your home and asked you to get me a fork, would you be able to? Of course you would! How you organize your forks, is how you should organize the rest of your home: The forks are located all together in one place where they are used most often, everyone knows where the forks are, and everyone returns the forks to that exact spot after use (and cleaning!) with little to no extra effort required.

If you have a lot of clutter, the initial organization process can be a bit time consuming, but keeping organized should only take you about 10-15 minutes a day. Here are some quick tips even the busiest person can keep up with:

  1. Follow the 30-Second Rule: Sarah Felton of Messies Anonymous suggests that if a task will take you 30-seconds or less to complete, do it now! This includes things like putting your shoes away, hanging your keys on that hook by the door and sorting your mail. You’ll be amazed at the difference taking these few seconds will make.
  2. Remember that you live in your home and it won’t always look perfect, especially if you have children. Determine what a realistic level of clutter is for you and don’t stress about it. For example, if asked, could you locate everything in your home? Where are the family vital records? Your grandmother’s cake platter? A pen? If you can locate it, then you have an organizational system in place that is working. Don’t change it just because a trendy magazine says you should!
  3. Label everything! Again, this may take some time up-front, but it will save you tons of time in the long run. Not only will it help you more easily locate that box in the garage with all of the Christmas décor in it, but it will encourage the rest of the family to put things back where they belong. Kids especially love labels and are much more eager to help clean up when they know exactly where everything will go (think about how everything is labeled in preschool and kindergarten classrooms!).

Having too much clutter in your home can definitely be a source of extreme stress, but it doesn’t have to be! Take the time each day to keep your home in a state in which you can truly relax in.

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