There’s a reason it feels good to clear up clutter and organize belongings in our homes. An office space covered in papers and files… a jam-packed closet where it’s hard to find anything… a garage chock-full of, well, everything… cluttered or disorganized spaces like these can actually affect our productivity, mood, and sleep quality.
Marisela Panzarella, the Designer/Move-In Coordinator at Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Oro Valley for those 55 and better, has helped many new residents organize their homes and downsize belongings before moving. “It’s not just about appearance—trimming down and organizing their belongings can free people from their stuff. It has the effect of clearing the mind,” she says.
Multiple studies have explored how people are affected by cluttered environments; some focused on work productivity, but others are more general. Here is what the research reveals:
- Neuroscience researchers have found that some people’s brains are better than others at handling disorder. Some of us may find that cluttered spaces—visual evidence of disorganization—can overload our cognitive resources and inhibit focus and memory.
- Clutter can stress us out and even make us depressed. One study found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people whose homes were cluttered.
- Another study found that those who sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
- A 2016 study nicknamed the “chaotic kitchen study” showed that students in a messy kitchen were more likely to eat more unhealthy snacks than those in a clean kitchen. (They did not overeat healthy snacks, which were also offered.) The researchers say a chaotic environment can trigger a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices.
Clearing space and getting organized go hand in hand with downsizing. Reducing the amount of papers, belongings, and other “stuff” in your space is probably more than half the battle, says Marisela. For those with a large house or lots of belongings, she says finding a starting place can be a stumbling block. “You need to find a method of breaking it down into manageable chunks. Once you find a place to get started, it will snowball,” she says. She recommends starting in rooms that you use the least, or that are less personal, such as spare bedrooms, the laundry room, the dining room (if you’re a kitchen-table family), or the formal living room.
“I’d say set a goal of organizing one room a day—some may not take that long, so you can take some time off,” says Marisela. “But if you find a particular room is taking you longer, just stop and move on to the next one. Don’t get hung up—keep moving and come back to it later.”
Downsizing, decluttering, and organizing your home will create visual order that you and your brain can enjoy.
Get Tips from the Pros
Are you ready to clear the clutter and organize your environment? Splendido has authored a guide full of pro tips for reimagining your space, focusing primarily on how to refresh the décor in any (or every room) of your home, drawing on the latest trends in colors and textures. Transforming your home with these tips can help you make better use of your rooms and other areas, creating spaces and looks that suit your lifestyle and your taste.
The guide also includes steps for getting started with decluttering, how to successfully stage your home for sale, and even plan a move. To get your free copy, visit splendidotucson.com/designguide.
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