“Organisation” is a mundane part of all of our lives, but what is it about a well-organised cupboard that makes people so satisfied? Why do some people spend their free time scrolling through blogs that teach them how to rearrange their closets, or the best way to colour-code their filing cabinets?
The positive psychology behind organisation
Keeping things clean and organised is good for you, and science can prove it.
- A study led by associate professor Nicole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses.
- In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.
- A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds every morning are 19 percent more likely to report regularly getting a good night’s sleep.
So, what makes staying organised so difficult?
If staying organised is so good for you, why doesn’t everyone do it?
- You have too much “Stuff”.
As we go through life, we gather things that we don’t necessarily need, but at the time we want. For instance, you might have a collection of old birthday cards you just can’t throw out, or artwork your kids have done that you don’t have the heart to take to the tip. These objects take up space.
Getting rid of this kind of clutter can be difficult, especially since we are often emotionally attached to them. If you’re afraid to let certain things go, try taking photographs of them so that you’ll always have a physical reminder. A great tip for the kids’ art - Take photos of their masterpieces and post them to an Instagram account which they can look back on when they’re older.
- You don’t have enough time.
Properly organising just one room can take a LOT of time. When faced with the prospect of organising your entire home, you might be tempted to give up before you start. As with any daunting project, take things one step at a time. Spend 30 minutes a day on cleaning and organisation.
- You forget how nice it feels to be organised.
Few things are more satisfying than entering a perfectly clean home. Unfortunately, once your house is clean, it becomes easier to slip back into bad habits. You might be tempted to leave your jacket draped over the back of a lounge chair because going to the coat rack feels like too much work. Or you might squeeze a book into an overcrowded bookshelf because what’s one book anyway? Soon enough, your home will be just as disorganised as before.
The solution? Look at organisation "porn" (Instagram Feeds, Pinterest, Blogs). Read an anti-clutter blog. Remember this article. People who keep their homes clean and organised are healthier, both physically and mentally. Spending the time and effort to keep your space clean is well worth it.
Regardless of the why, it’s clear that staying clean and organised is a good thing. It helps us feel better about ourselves, it keeps us productive, and it may very well keep us physically fit. The next time we bemoan having to clean our home, let’s try to keep these things in mind and we may just feel a little better when everything is organised.