Mind Body Organization

I hate clutter and mess. It haunts me. It’s like a visually reminder of all the things I have to do and haven’t yet gotten around to. When I was younger, it was so much easier to stay organized and keep my house clean, but since my daughter has come into my life, I find it almost impossible. The mess drains my energy even before I try to tackle it. Who knew that a pile of toys and wrinkled clothing could actually sap my strength?

Recently, my friend shared a blog entry from DugansInCahoots.com called, “We Can’t Be Friends.” The blog post was written by a mother who acknowledged the disorganization that comes along with motherhood. Unlike me, this mother seemed to have embraced the mess and constant action that was present in her home. I wish I could look at my mess in the same way, as some kind of beautiful byproduct of life, but I am not there yet. The blogger went on to describe how she felt that her friends need to feel comfortable in the chaos of her home, if they want to come to visit. This blogger felt that if she had to spend three hours cleaning up before her friends came over, they could not be friends anymore. I actually find this to be a very sweet idea that true friends can be comfortable with each other no matter what the state of their homes, but it is unrealistic to think that any of us can find comfort in disorganization. We may have to endure the mess in our own homes. Our friends and family may tolerate it because they love us. But the truth is that disorganization actually lowers our quality of life.

It turns out that disorganization can actually have a negative effect on our health. We are all familiar with the confused and scattered feelings we experience when our environments are disorganized. We can’t find what we want when we want it and we have trouble planning and completing tasks because of the mess. What does this mean for our minds and our bodies? Holistic medical doctor and writer for the Huffington Post, Maria Rosedale, describes in her article, “Clear the Clutter: Organization boosts Health and Vitality,” how clutter can raise stress and anxiety levels, as well as, increase mental and physical fatigue. Rosedale goes on to describe how the patients in her practice who describe their lives as being messy and disorganized were more likely to experience physical symptoms such as bloating, congestion, inflammation and poor digestion. Tara Parker, writer for the New York Times, has described that people in disorganized environments experience a threat to their sense of personal control and impairment in their ability to perform efficiently on tasks that require brain power. Extreme cases of clutter and disorganization have even been linked as a side effect to severe health problems such as depression, chronic pain and emotional trauma. So, clearly the effects of disorganization are far greater than only aesthetic.

So, what is a mother to do? We have so much to do and so little time. I suggest that we break up the task of home organization into smaller more manageable parts and work to get organized step by step. For example, if your whole house is disorganized and your garage is bursting at the seams, choose one room or even one area of a room to organize first. In my house we tackled my daughter’s room first. I realized that her bedroom was often a complete mess. The reason was not that she was particularly messy but that I hadn’t designated a special place for each of her toys, outfits and accessories. When I looked at the space we had and the variety of things that we wanted to keep in the space, it became easier to decide what we would keep, what had to go, and where each item would live in her room. What a difference! It made clean up time for my daughter a lot less complicated too. If you attack each room in this manner, your house will feel much more manageable, in no time. Please don’t get me wrong I understand that it is not realistic to expect that a house full of people will ever be perfectly organized, nor should it be, but I do believe that there is a great amount of peace of mind and wellness that comes with having a designated place for everything and order in your living space.

Over the next few months, I will being going over the rooms in my home and reorganizing them. I will share pictures with you of what worked well, as well as, some of the challenges that I’ve faced. I want to get rid of my old baggage, both physical and emotional, and make room for all of the positive changes that I anticipate this year.

What rooms are interfering with your peace of mind? How do you plan to turn things around? Please comment below and share any pictures of good organizational ideas, or organization projects that still need to be tackled. I would love to hear from you!

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