People experience plenty of stress from jobs, finances, and other areas of their lives. When we come home, we want to feel like we’re entering a refuge, safe from the demands of life. But does your home provide a safe harbor from stress, or is it causing you additional stress that you might not be aware of? If you have a cluttered, poorly decorated, or somewhat disorganised living space, home relaxation can be virtually impossible.
Organisation helps you do the following things:
Improve your relationships
Focus on other aspects of your life and free up time and energy to improve your life in other areas
Reduce depression and anxiety
Make better food choices and stick to a workout regime, which will help you lose weight
Make you more productive
A study led by associate professor NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses. Keith and her colleagues tracked the physical health of 998 African Americans between the ages of 49 and 65, a demographic known to be at an increased risk for heart disease. Participants who kept their homes clean were healthier and more active than those who didn’t. In fact, house cleanliness was even more of a predictor for physical health than neighbourhood walkability.
A 2010 study published in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin used linguistic analysis software to measure the way 60 individuals discussed their homes. Women who described their living spaces as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to be depressed and fatigued than women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.” The researchers also found that women with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.
A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds every morning are 19 percent more likely to report regularly getting a good night’s sleep. People who were surveyed also reported benefits from having clean sheets — specifically, 75 percent of people said they get a better night’s rest when their sheets are freshly cleaned because they feel more comfortable.
Just sitting in a cluttered room can create stress. Whether you view it in feng shui terms as "stagnant chi," in cerebral terms as too much information for the eye to process, or in practical
terms as a visual reminder of how much work you need to do to get your house clean, you probably already know that mess means stress.
Followers of the Chinese discipline feng-shui believe that a well-ordered home aligns vital energy in your life to bring good fortune in other areas of your life. Others simply enjoy the soothing surroundings and pleasing aesthetics that come with the balanced decorating style that feng-shui espouses.
Being in a space characterised by order, tranquility, and a physical manifestation of your tastes, on the other hand, can soothe you and help release stress. This is how marketers sell products from catalogs so efficiently. They are really ‘selling’ the sense of peace that comes from the beauty of the picture as much as they’re selling the products contained in that picture of a beautiful room.
Regardless of the why, however, it’s clear that staying clean and organised is a good thing. It helps us feel better about ourselves, it keeps us productive and it may very well keep us physically fit.Coming home to an orderly home can help you feel like you’re entering a sanctuary away from the stresses of the outside world.
Any time is the right time to create an organised, soothing home atmosphere. You can simplify your life and reduce the daily stress you experience by putting in relatively minimal effort to de-clutter, organise, and decorate your home. Let your home be your sanctuary.