Clutter and Your Health

We are all familiar with the never-ending battle against clutter. Some of us are better at it than others. There are also those that need a certain amount of clutter to feel at home- they find inspiration in piles, an oddly logical sense of order in stacks and mish-mashes. For all of us, though, there is a ‘clutter-line’ that, when crossed, means some serious house cleaning is in order.

The bottom line is that clutter, whether on your couch or in your email inbox, is very annoying. But can it also be dangerous?

One of the biggest, most obvious dangers of an overly-cluttered house is the accumulation of dirt. Dust, stray hairs, and pet dander happily gathers in the extra nooks and crannies created by clutter. For those with allergies, this is a nightmare scenario and a constant battle. Even those without allergy problems can experience health issues due to clutter.

There’s also a psychological drain. We’ve all felt it; the feeling of helpless exhaustion you get when you look at a very messy table, or the piles of toys your children have left scattered around the living room. Clutter can exacerbate emotional and mental problems, including depression.

So what do you do? Here’s some tips from Jennifer Nelson on, designed to help ease you into a de-cluttered environment:

Organize in bite-size bits:If the thought of getting organized completely overwhelms you, set a timer for just 15 minutes a day. Knowing you won’t spend hours working on an organizational project might make working in small nuggets easier to manage.

Mainstream email: Instead of checking email with each ding of the inbox, read your emails on a regular basis only twice a day. When you open an email, answer it immediately and don’t save it for later.

Handle snail mail only once: Create a special time and place to read your snail mail regularly. During the appointed time, open the mail and immediately take action on it. File it with bills, shred it, toss it in the trash, etc. Commit to touching each piece of mail immediately and only once.

Avoid horizontal piles: When possible, avoid putting paper in horizontal stacks in your home or office. Save time and frustration by categorizing and finding a home for paper as soon as it comes through the door.

Purge regularly:This applies to every room in the house but don’t forget the kitchen and bathroom. Check expiration dates regularly on medicines, vitamins, supplements, and cosmetics. Stick to the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, let it go.


Let us know if you like any of these tips, or you’ve got any tips of your own!

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