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Keep Clean and Carry On

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Kelly Nardo, the founder of fitness-and-nutrition blog eatthegains.com, highlights why being organized is good for your health.

By Kelly Nardo

As a new year begins, we’re all trying to start off on the right foot, be that by cleaning up our diets, hitting the gym one more time a week or focusing on self-care. With all these new resolutions to prioritize, one thing that can get pushed to the back burner of our to-do lists is getting organized. We all know how wonderful it feels coming home to a sparkling kitchen, a clutter-free office and all the laundry put away, but do you ever think about the health benefits that come from channeling your inner neat freak? Let’s count the many ways in which prioritizing organization is good for our mental, emotional and physical sanity.

It reduces stress.

Are you running about the house trying to find keys or searching through a 2-inch stack of papers on your desk looking for a certain contract? When everything has a home, be that a desk drawer, a shelf, a hook or a filing folder, and you know exactly where it is, you’ll no longer have to stress about trying to find something when you need it most, which will make you more relaxed.

It encourages healthier eating habits.

Having clutter and disorder can lead to stress, which increases your cortisol levels. Excessive cortisol can encourage fat synthesis, increase your appetite and can affect your choice of food. Translation: Come snack time, your tendency is to lean toward something high in fat, sugar or both. When things are less cluttered, more clean and therefore inherently less stressful, you are more likely to choose an apple instead of a candy bar and keep that cheat day in check.

It improves sleep.

A messy room can make you feel anxious, leading to lost hours of sleep. Keep your room clean and your bed made, and clear out things you don’t need to help reduce clutter and have a restful night.

It increases concentration and creativity.

Do you ever sit down at your desk and try to get something done only to realize your desk is a disaster zone? Some would say a scattered workspace means a scattered mind. Being clutter-free helps you focus on the task at hand without getting distracted. Light a candle and find a new place for the mess, whether it’s the trash can or a filing cabinet, and make your desk a clean slate. Although work processes differ from person to person, being able to concentrate on one task at a time can increase your productivity and get creative juices flowing for the next task at hand.

It boosts energy.

Do you ever clean your house and feel like a million bucks afterward? Just 10 minutes spent cleaning—a quick sweep of the kitchen and getting a load of laundry started—can give you the energy boost and the mental break you need to continue on with your day.

It enables you to focus on the future.

Have you ever moved or redesigned a room and found a miscellany of items you didn’t even know you had? Make a point to get rid of the things that drag you down, especially those that do so emotionally, for instance, those old jeans from college that haven’t fit you for a few years. Eliminate items that are more likely to give you feelings of guilt than happiness, and keep the things that motivate and inspire you and make you feel like your best self.

Lastly, it’s no shock being more organized can help increase happiness. Studies have shown clutter can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and that stress can make you feel overwhelmed, fatigued, depressed or, in layman’s terms, like you don’t have your life together. At the end of the day, there are few things more rewarding than coming home to a well-organized and clean home.

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