The mental health benefits of an uncluttered life

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“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” – John Wesley

Spring is in the air, spiking an inner desire among many folks to tidy up their surroundings. That’s good news, especially because cleanliness yields some important mental health benefits, such as decreasing stress and, in some instances, increasing happiness. If spring cleaning is on your mind, now may be the perfect time to start reaping the psychological benefits of a clean, clutter-free environment. After all, staying organized can help you:

  • Maintain control. From pressures at work to responsibilities at home, there’s plenty of stress in your life. And while most of that is difficult to control, an organized lifestyle is something you can control. When you take ownership of your space and organize it in a way that makes sense and works for you, it creates a feeling of empowerment. Maintaining control over that aspect of your life makes it easier to handle other more challenging tasks.
  • Get creative. If the space around you is chaotic and cluttered, your mind is often cluttered as well. That creates distractions, which in turn can stifle your creativity. Instead, try to eliminate some of those distractions, from the stack of files on your desk to all that stuff you’ve been storing in the garage. It’s nearly impossible to think clearly and feel inspired when you constantly have to confront a mess.
  • Save time. Like many people, you may spend way too much time looking for misplaced items. Keys, sunglasses and cell phones come to mind. But getting organized can be a real game-changer. Sure, it might be overwhelming to think about organizing a cluttered space, but you can start by focusing on a few small tasks. Create a plan for what you want to keep, donate or throw away, and remember that your efforts will pay off down the road.
  • Appreciate what matters. When you sort through items, it creates an opportunity to rediscover the things that bring you joy. Whether it’s a favorite article of clothing or a precious photo, you can decide to find a place for it or throw it away. Taking the time to clear out things that simply take up space puts you in a better position to appreciate what remains.

Everyone has a different view of what it means to be tidy, and that’s okay. The important thing is to adopt an approach that works for you – one that makes it possible to slow down and enjoy a more peaceful life.

David Lowenstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist and the clinical director of Lowenstein & Associates, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to providing therapeutic services to individuals and families, he offers training and consultation to numerous associations, schools and agencies around the country. Additionally, he is a frequent radio and TV guest and a resource and contributing writer for numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. Contact Dr. David Lowenstein at 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.