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How Organization Helps Our Mental Health

Marie Condo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is an international best-seller. She has since launched a blog, a consultation service, and even a Netflix show. So how does a book encouraging people to complete chores generate so much success? The answer is simple: many people who tried Kondo’s organizational techniques noticed a boost in their personal lives and an overall sense of wellbeing.


The Basics of Kondo’s Theory

Kondo’s tidying up process follows six simple rules.

  1. Commit to becoming more organized.
  2. Imagine what your ideal lifestyle looks like.
  3. Discard all unnecessary items before tidying up.
  4. Tidy your home by category, not by room.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if your belongings bring happiness.

In this oversimplified form, you may begin to wonder what all the hype is about, but many readers stand firmly by the life-changing principles of her book.


The Benefits of Tidying Up

To a counselor, these principles echo the belief that our brains function better in organized spaces. In fact, here are some mental health benefits of tidying up.

  1. One of the core principles of Kondo’s process is minimalism, which is why it is so important to purge before tidying. At all levels, minimalism frees people to spend less, live more and do more.
  2. In 2009, one study revealed that women with elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone indicating stress, lived in untidy homes. A 2016 study conducted by Cornell University recently confirmed this by reporting that messy environments are a breeding ground for stress.
  3. According to a 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey, people who make the bed every morning have a 19 percent higher chance of getting better sleep at night. Better sleep then leads to a better mood and higher levels of concentration.
  4. Another study found that people with clean houses were healthier and more active than people who lived in messier dwellings. Good health can go a long way to eliminate one of the largest stressors in the American population: health and healthcare.

Do these sound like perks you could use? Then, set aside some time this week and start organizing. You’ll be glad you did!


Contact Dr. Kelly Mothner

Dr. Kelly Mothner is a psychologist who serves the Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and the rest of the South Bay areas. If you are curious about how becoming more organized improves your emotional wellbeing and overall mental health, send an email via this contact form to submit your queries or schedule an appointment.