April is Stress Awareness Month - a perfect time to reflect on your home and whether it's a port in the storm or a storm in itself. If you're fearing it's the latter, don't fret. Recognition is the first step, and you're not alone.
Your Environment Affects Your Mind. Your Stuff Matters.
Do you feel more stressed or depressed when your home is cluttered and your space is out-of-order? Are you a woman who feels like the disorganization affects you more than it affects your husband? You are in the majority, and researchers and studies show the same.
Researchers have long acknowledged that your home and your perception of it, can and does affect your health and wellbeing. A 2010 article found that a person's perception of their home negatively affects their everyday level of stress and depression - especially if they're a woman.
Majority of Families in Study were Buried in Clutter
Researchers found that most homes in the study were overflowing with clutter. Seventy-five percent of the families studied used their garages solely for storage. Many families felt their homes were unfinished. The most common word families used when describing their homes was "mess".
Clutter Increases Depression and Stress
The study found that wives who described their homes as "cluttered" or "messy" had higher levels of daily depression and stress. They were more likely to be tired in the evening and to have a more difficult time transitioning from work to home. (When coming home from work means being faced with piles of clutter, it's no wonder that stress doesn't decrease when the work day is over.) In contrast, wives who felt their homes were more relaxing and clutter-free, had lower levels of depression and stress throughout the day.
Interestingly, the results for men were not the same. They seem to be less affected. The results were basically null.
This suggests what we've observed in the homes of the majority of our clients: the wife is still the CEO of the home. It's largely the woman's responsibility, and she is more affected by a cluttered and disorganized home. She's more likely to feel guilt or shame about the clutter. This is consistent with other research that shows that the home is mostly considered the woman's responsibility, even in when both spouses work.
So, What Now? How do I Get More Organized?
Of these two closet photos, which is more calming? Which makes you want to get dressed in the morning? Which is less distracting? Which is more inspiring? Is there one that makes you anxious?
First, take a little time to give yourself some grace. We are not all born organizers, but we can learn. Many of us get disorganized simply because life gets in the way: birth of a child, kids in the home, a move, a job change, the death of a close family member, a busy work schedule - even a combination of one or more of these things.
Second, take it bit by bit - little by little. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you only get through one drawer today, that's one less drawer to get through! Progress is the only goal here.
Third, don't be afraid to call in some help. You can benefit from a Professional Organizer in several different ways. They can lend an objective and fresh eye to the space. They have experience organizing for different families in different situations and in different homes. They know little tricks to make it easier. They can help you achieve your goals more quickly. They can offer direction, support, enthusiasm, instruction, information, encouragement, and they can just physically do it for you!
Regardless of how you choose to pursue your goal of a more organized and tidy space, commit to it. Commit to giving yourself and your family a better life with less stress and less clutter.
Would you like to live a more organized life? Contact us today to get started!
I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)