If you've thought about going full KonMari Method on your place but haven't quite taken the leap, consider this: tidying up could be seriously good for your health.
Here's what we know: a messy home can lead to overeating, with one study showing that "a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices." In other words, a disorganized space may even cause you to gain weight. Not only that, but clutter can lead to depression and, in more extreme cases, put you at risk for injury and take a toll on your relationships.
The upside? The opposite is also true! Cleaning your home can improve your health. One study even found that "participants in an orderly room chose healthier snacks and donated more money," meaning not only could you feel healthier, but you might also end up being more charitable and generous.
"Your space is a reflection of yourself," said Holly Mishcut, a professional organizer based in Los Angeles who specializes in functional design. Holly told POPSUGAR that it's not just "hoarders" (which is an actual disorder) who struggle with the mental distress of a disorganized space; her clients have ranged from high-level executives to average millennials, and they all experience the same kind of psychological relief when they go through the process of decluttering.
"If you're stressed and you have clutter everywhere, you're more likely to stay in that state of stress and believe that both things [the internal stress and physical clutter] are unmanageable," she said. "But once you start clearing things out, you'll recognize that both your space and any internal stress or anxiety you're facing can be worked through — and at the same time, in some cases."
So, What Can You Do to Get Organized?
"Start small," said Holly. "You wouldn't start drinking a gallon of water or going to the gym for three hours as your first step toward getting healthy, would you? The same goes for organizing," she said.
"Begin with one drawer, one section of your closet, one cabinet, one part of your bathroom, one junk area — choosing one small area to focus on will make the process much less overwhelming," Holly continued. "I know it may seem counterintuitive, but scheduling time to work on one larger area a few times a week, or a smaller area for a couple of hours, is much better than taking on everything at once." She noted that this is imperative to ensuring the process itself feels stress-reducing, not just the end result.
"This should be a fulfilling experience, not a disorienting or traumatizing one," said Holly. "When my clients and I finish one area [of their homes], they're excited to move on to the next. Then, when they're done physically organizing, they're more energized and excited to organize other components of their lives that they've been disregarding, like their car, email inbox, and calendar."
As one healthy choice begets another, who knows what you could unlock within your health and wellness journey? And there aren't any "adverse side effects" with getting organized, so you have nothing to lose. Get to it!