• Sat, Apr 5 2008

Can being disorganized make you sick?

Being disorganized actually can make you sick. There are problems that disorganized folks run into that organized people may miss. Following is just some of what you can better avoid by staying organized.

Avoid stress: We all know how dangerious ongoing stress can be. Stress can result in high blood pressure, more frequent illnesses, emotional issues, and more. Extreme stress from clutter alone is probably rare, but daily stress that builds up due to clutter is more common. We have a lot going on in our lives. If we can cut out clutter, it’s just one less stressful issue to deal with.

Avoid dust and mold: Dust really is not our friend. When you have boxes and bags stuffed everywhere, dust is mighty happy, and you’re more likely to get sick. Mold may be less of a friend than dust. Plus once mold starts, you can’t just let it grow, it becomes nightmarish to get rid of. Reducing clutter makes it easier to stay tidy, as does sticking to a regular cleaning schedule.

Avoid body aches: There is actually an official issue (or illness if you want to go that far) called Irritable Desk Syndrome. Have you heard of this? No joke, researchers have studied what long hours at a cluttered desk can do to your body, and it’s not pretty. Turns out that the more cluttered your work area, the less adapt you are at finding items you need. The result is that you spend more time slouching over, bending back to find a paper, and twisting your body into other odd positions. A clean desk eliminates this issue and also eliminates that old dust issue above.

There’s also indirect health consequences of being disorganized. For example, I wouldn’t be typing these words right now if my desk was messy. I’m one of those people who seriously cannot function in a messy area. My productivity goes right down the drain. Many people lose productivity when they try to work near clutter. If you’re not productive your work suffers, you spiral into more stress, which makes you even less productive – all because you didn’t organize in the first place.

Another indirect health risk of disorganization is lack of overall health. If you’re busy and behind due to household duties,  or work, what are the first things to go? It’s usually exercise and healthy eating – because both take time. When you live in a chronically disorganized state, you never have time to be as healthy as you should.

I know that overall, when my house manages to stay somewhat tidy, with minor work I feel better. My head feels clearer, and I’m happier to have more time with my son (no guilt).

What do you think? Is your clutter making you sick?

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  • http://www.michelesmix.com Michele

    I have a vague sense of being unsettled when my house is disorganized. It’s hard to get anything done or relax. Once I get back to normal, it’s such a relief.

  • http://www.treehuggingfamily.com Peggy

    I’ve been having neck aches and suspecting poor posture. I keep catching myself propping my head on my hand and leaning forward. Bad.

    A friend of mine said she sits on a pilates ball at her desk. I might try that.

  • http://knittingdragonflies.blogspot.com/ vicki

    Yes I would agree, I have just started to declutter my house and it follows through to my life, I didn’t realize how stressful the clutter was. No matter what I did, it was always on my mind to get rid of the mess!!
    Clutter is gone, I feel great and have tons more energy!
    Vicki

  • Jennifer

    @Michele that’s me. I feel uneasy. Plus I’ll just focus on the clutter, not say, my work.

    @Peggy exercise balls are great as office chairs. When I worked as a doula, I always suggested my mamas use them whenever they sat down. Exercise balls promote healthy alignment and posture, and help strengthen your core. I have one.

    @Vicki I already had a fairly clutter free house, but lately I’ve been downsizing even more and I really feel more free – I’m so happy to have one less thing to clean, or organize.

  • http://organizebythemonth.com Janice

    Jennifer,
    I recently found your blog and I’m enjoying it very much. It is so true about how clutter can affect your overall health. With a lot of clutter around it is easy to become overwhelmed. This leads to indecision which leads to immobilization. That usually leads to depression which leads to not taking care of your physical health (diet and exercise). That in turn affects your overall health. This domino effect all started with having too much clutter.
    Janice

  • http://psalm37v4.blogspot.com Tami

    This article made some very good points, a few that are recognized in my home, in my work place, and in my physical health.

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