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It’s official. American’s are more stressed than ever before.

A recent survey conducted by an annual Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world found that, “Americans reported feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in a decade.” In fact, according to the Chief of the Well at Everyday Health, “…research shows that chronic stress is a national epidemic for all genders and ages, particularly those who are 25 to 35 years old.”

According to The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter, Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, has been studying the causes of clutter and the impact it has on emotional well-being. He found that, “If you have to move things around in order to accomplish a task in your home or at your office or you feel overwhelmed by all your ‘things,’ it’s a strong signal that clutter has prevailed. And it might be stressing you out more than you realize.”

The research Professor Ferrari has conducted indicates that a cluttered home can be a stressful home, and with 1 in 4 Americans reportedly having a clutter problem, it’s no wonder stress is on the rise. Since stress is known to cause, “…physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping [as well as]…worsen certain symptoms or diseases…” finding ways to combat stress is of the utmost importance.

There are numerous ways to alleviate stress, including meditation, talk therapy and taking on a hobby you enjoy; however, clearing your living space of unnecessary belongings can help as well, making your home a spacious sanctuary. Mayo Clinic’s article, How decluttering your space could make you happier and healthier, states that people who have clutter and disorganization within their homes, “…tended to show levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suggesting chronic stress. On the flip side, those who described their homes as being restful or talked about their beautiful outdoor spaces were less stressed and reported less sad feelings as the day went on.”

The idea of decluttering your home may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of tackling your entire house at once, spend just 10-15 minutes a day targeting one specific area, such as a closet or dresser, dividing items into three separate categories: keep, donate and discard.

If you have used an item within the past 3 months and have a genuine plan or purpose to use it within the next 3, keep it. If you do not have a use for an item, but someone else may, donate it. And, if the item doesn’t fit into the keep or donate categories, toss it away and don’t look back! It’s that simple.

While the keep, donate, discard principle works perfectly for many, an increasing number of Americans are choosing to live small, which makes finding the room for larger items such as sports equipment or holiday decor a challenge. Rather than take up much needed room within your home, consider renting a storage unit at a local storage facility to help maximize space within your home. Units are typically available in a variety of sizes at an affordable price, providing you with an off-site storage solution without breaking the bank.

By taking on clutter a little at a time⁠—keeping what you need, donating what you don’t, and discarding what no one does⁠—you can have your home clutter free and organized in no time, making your home a place of rest and relaxation.

To the newly decluttered and stress-free you!

Happy 2020!

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” -Helen Keller