Clutter Stresses You Out, According to Science

Editor’s note: This is guest post written by the lovely Lucy Milligan Wahl, founder of LMW Edits and professional organizer. I’m a professional organizer. When I’m talking about my business in social situations, people often ask me if there are any actual benefits of an organized home. And yes, the question usually comes across as skeptically as I’ve phrased it in that sentence! I always respond that people shouldn’t be organized for organizing’s sake, or to feel like they’re keeping up with some sort of social standard. This is where my healthy skepticism for Pinterest comes in – many of those DIY’s and organizing “hacks” that look so pretty actually take a lot of time and energy to create, and may not really work for the way you think and live. Instead, I tell people that being organized will save you time and energy that you can funnel back into the relationships and activities that are important to you. However, it turns out that I was only selling one of the major benefits of organizing! BeWell@Stanford is an internal resource for faculty and staff at Stanford University that promotes health across the spectrum, from diet and exercise to preventative medicine and mental health. They recently published a summary of evidence proving that clutter increases stress, as well as clutter-combating tips: A clean, well-lighted place: how less clutter can reduce stress. Here are just a few specific benefits of decreasing the clutter in your environment, all according to scientific research:
  • Feel less irritable
  • Be more productive
  • Get distracted less often
  • Process information better
  • Act more generously
  • Make healthier food choices
Fellow professional organizers have always noticed the link between clutter and stress – we all talk about that moment when a client looks around their space and feels that a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. I’ve literally had a client say to me that she felt as though she’d lost ten pounds! It’s reassuring and fascinating to know that science has proven this specific connection. Still, many people are too overwhelmed in their day-to-day lives to set aside the time to follow the organizing tips recommended in the article. If that’s you, consider hiring a professional organizer. A pro’s expertise, connections, and motivating enthusiasm will whisk you through the organizing process faster and easier than you could go it on your own. To hire LMW Edits to organize your space, contact lucy@lmwedits.com. And check out the LMW Edits Blog for more thoughts on organizing in real life!