You can’t underestimate the value of getting organized.
A neat and tidy living space doesn’t just look better. According to science, it has countless benefits for your physical and mental health, too.
As psychologists and biologists point out, a clean house has the ability to lower stress levels and increase happiness.
But, as most of us know, keeping a clean house is harder than it sounds. After all, between work, school, extracurricular activities and day-to-day life in general, who really has time to clean?
We get it. Cleaning your house after work isn’t always ideal.
But, there are a few simple things you can do every day to keep your house organized. Each of these things will help you keep a clean home and, in turn, will have potentially massive benefits for your mental health.
Put All of Your Belongings Back in their “Home”
Take a look at that pile of clothes on your bedroom floor (we’ve all been there). According to some scientists, that pile could be infiltrating your brain in a detrimental way.
I mean, how are you supposed to get anything done when that pile of clothes (or the pile of dishes in the sink) are constantly nagging at you?
As Dr. Rian Rowles points out in an article for AHC Health enews, “When you live in a messy home, you are subconsciously reminded of the work that needs to be finished, your eyes do not have a place to rest.” 
Over time, the doctor says, clutter can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. “Too much clutter can cause tremendous stress and fatigue,” he explains, “When things take longer to find or can’t be found, stress levels rise, and so does your risk for illness.”
So, it’s important to put everything back in its place when you’re done with it. We recommend that you put your clothes, jackets, and shoes back in the closet before you go to bed.
And don’t go to sleep with dishes in the sink, either (sorry)!
Sweep Up the Dust and Dirt
Every house on earth gathers dust. No matter who you are, dirt and lint accumulate behind your couch, under your bed, and in the corners of the ceiling.
Unfortunately, it never stops gathering. As Luis Villazon explains in a Q&A for Science Focus, most dust is created from the dirt, soot, and pollen that we bring into the house on our shoes and clothing. 
So, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home by sweeping and vacuuming every day.
Remember, dust can have detrimental health effects on the human body over time. Although small amounts aren’t going to kill you, it can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation if you let it build up over time. 
If you already suffer from asthma, emphysema, or allergies, dust is likely to make you worse.
No one likes dusting. It’s a messy chore that seems to take forever. But, if you get into the habit of taking a few minutes to sweep and vacuum after work, you’ll eliminate the problem over time.
Schedule a Daily Cleaning Time
One of the reasons why it feels so difficult to get organized is that there’s so much work to be done. So, the task seems impossible.
But once you start doing it every day, you’ll realize that it’s not as tough as you thought.
“The brain is wired to be very cautious and conservative in starting big projects,” says Randall O’Reilly, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Colorado University, “Once you do start, it takes over your brain.” 
As O’Reilly explains, the brain is naturally hesitant because the work requires us to make hard decisions. In other words, your brain might be afraid of deciding whether or not to throw out all of those clothes you say you’ll wear someday but haven’t taken the tags off yet.
“Your brain recognizes that and says, ‘Maybe I won’t start on that project after all’,” he elaborates.
Like anything, cleaning and organizing becomes less scary the more you do them. If you set aside 30 minutes (or even 15 when you first start), you’ll become accustomed to it and the feat will dissipate.
We recommend that you choose one time that works best for you and stick to it. That way, you’ll get used to organizing at the same time every day and it will become a habit in no time.
Ask any of the world’s most productive people what their secret is and they’ll tell you — don’t multitask. It’s the most unproductive thing you can do.
When you try to organize your closet and talk on the phone at the same time, or clean the fridge while you’re balancing your checkbook, you’re not going to get either of them done.
As Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist and author of The Organized Mind, says, “The brain doesn’t multitask. Rather, the brain shifts rapidly from one thing to the next. That causes us to not be able to focus attention on any one thing, and this dividing of our attention makes us less efficient.” 
So, focus on doing one thing at a time. When you attempt to do it all at once, you’re going to be much more overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning. You’re unlikely to get much done and, in turn, won’t gain any of the benefits of a tidy house.
Our suggestion is to write a to-do list of chores and check them off one by one. Don’t move onto the next until you finish the first.
Most importantly don’t text or check emails while you’re trying to clean. According to Levitin, these types of activities give your brain a small jolt of neurotransmitters that trick you into thinking you’re being productive.
“Multitasking puts us in a kind of dopamine addiction loop,” he says, “Answering an email or responding to a tweet gives out these little dollops of reward.”
Of course, listening to music or having the TV on in the background is okay. But, if you get sidetracked by your mobile devices, all of your efforts will be futile.
Look at Pictures for Inspiration
There’s no shortage of “organization porn” out there. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are filled with images of color-coded closets and perfectly arranged countertops. 
If you want a reminder of the joys of organization, follow a few accounts that inspire you (we’d recommend thehomeedit on Instagram as a starting point). It could be the kick in the butt you need to start getting tidy.
On a scientific level, pictures of organized homes are very appealing to the brain. We love to see symmetry and tidiness. As Dr. Ralph Ryback writes for Psychology Today, “The human body is made up of tens of thousands of integrated biological and neurochemical systems, all of which are…organized.” 
So, as the doctor says, we enjoy seeing the natural order reflected in our household environments.
And, while it may seem daunting to get organized, pictures can show us that it’s possible.
Don’t worry. It might seem impossible now. But, store some inspirational photos in your phone and follow the tips we’ve outlined above. You’re going to have a perfectly organized home in no time.
Are you an organization goddess?!? Please share your organizing and tidying tips below. 🙂
About the Author
John Linden is an interior designer from Los Angeles, California. He has worked with some of the biggest hotels and interiors in California and the entire US. In 2013, John started his furniture business, MirrorCoop.com, focusing on wall mirrors and wall decor.