Does a messy house equal a messy mind? Yes, and science can prove it. Last year, 69% of Canadians made New Year’s resolutions. Research from Ipsos says 33% of resolution-makers want to improve their fitness and nutrition, 21% set financial goals, 13% hope to take more time for travel and leisure, and 11% want to ‘quit bad habits’.
However, 8 out of 10 Canadians fail to keep their resolutions. Research shows that the most common obstacle for those people is ‘a lack of willpower, motivation or drive’. To put it simply, setting achievable goals is easier said than done.
Most native English-speakers have heard of the concept that a messy home makes a messy mind. So is a cluttered environment contributing to a lack of following through on New Year’s resolutions? Maybe. One study found that the more visual stimuli in view, the more distracted participants were. Clutter could be competing for your attention and making it more difficult to concentrate.
It’s also linked to stress and anxiety, which can impact your mood and even your self-esteem. Feeling like you have a messy or unfinished space can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It can even increase your likelihood of eating poorly–not the best outcome for those with a resolution to eat better or lose weight. If your resolution is to spend more time with friends and family, feeling embarrassed by your space can make you less likely to invite people over.
Unlike many other things that cause stress and anxiety, there’s a tangible way to reduce stress caused by clutter. And that’s to reduce the clutter.
But this doesn’t mean the clutter should just go into a closet or under the bed. You’ll know it’s there, and the thought of organizing it will still be a weight on your mind. If you can take the time now to simplify and make sure everything has its place, you’ll be able to get one step closer to accomplishing your resolutions. In fact, if your resolution was to declutter, now’s your chance!
You may have a lot of stuff, and that stuff may not be destined for the junk pile. Even if every item has a purpose, every item needs a home. That might mean picking up a filing cabinet, mounting a bulletin board on the wall, or putting all of your receipts or concert tickets into a box. It doesn’t all need to sit on your desk, the kitchen counter, or on top of the washing machine.
Many studies show that a cluttered space can increase stress and distraction, and cause you to enjoy your home less. Whether or not you made a resolution this year, we all deserve to feel more relaxed and happier where we live. Simplify and organize your space, and you’ll be one step closer to a healthy and refreshing 2019.