The Health Benefits of Decluttering

Medically reviewed in October 2021

When you're so stressed you can't think straight, take a quick look around. See lots of clutter? Consider it a sign.

In her book, The Superstress Solution, physician and author Roberta Lee writes that a disorganized, untidy, clutter-filled home is not only a symptom of stress but also a source of stress. Clean up the litter and you'll dial up the calm.

The Science of Stress and Clutter
According to Lee, research shows that we secrete the stress hormone cortisol when surrounded by disarray. Bad news for your body. But the good news is that you know exactly what to do about it. With a quick tidy-up, you could reclaim both your surroundings and your serenity. Don't know where to start your spring clean-out? Try these tips:

  • Take baby steps. It probably took a long time to accumulate all your clutter, so give yourself time to clear it out. Break up the task into manageable chunks, starting with one room, one corner, one junk drawer, or one cupboard at a time.
  • Set a schedule. Whether you do 20 minutes a day or reserve a whole weekend to declutter, set aside the time you need, and stick to your schedule.
  • Write it down. Lee recommends keeping a journal to help you set goals and record positive changes you've made to your environment. Ask yourself what's cluttering your life, why you keep it, and what parts of your life and house seem out of control. Then, list concrete steps for changing it.
  • Reach out. Articles and self-help books from people who've been where you are can help you get organized and make decisions on what to toss, what to donate, and what to keep.

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