Comedian George Carlin once observed that we Americans use our houses, “as a place to keep our crap while we go out and get more crap.” That’s funny because it has the ring of truth – a truth may be taking a toll on our collective mental health.
Excessive clutter can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and stress, especially in women, according to new research from UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families.
Women view a squared-away home as the sign of a happy family. Thus, clutter and messiness are upsetting to them. In a recent study, the UCLA researchers found a direct connection between the volume of material possessions in a home and the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the female homeowner’s system.
You won’t be surprised to learn that menfolk are less affected by such disarray. But men and women alike tend to become paralyzed when it comes time to weed out our junk. We either can’t get past an emotional bond with the item, or we’re convinced it will make us rich the next time Antiques Roadshow is in town.
Many of these themes are echoed in Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The slim volume, often called “The Declutterer’s Bible,” is packed with ideas to get you started (and finished) tidying up your home – and your life.
Even if your place is stacked and packed with “crap,” Kondo’s book is one additional thing you can bring home guilt-free.