Declutter those closets, destress yourself

By Grace Smith | Reporter/Anchor

Out with the old and in with the new. For some people, getting rid of or organizing personal belongings can be a challenging task to conquer. It can even be daunting, untimely leading to an unhealthy lifestyle. This is especially true for how clean and organized a person chooses to keep their closet.

Being unorganized and living in a mound of clothes or having a crammed closet does not just take up unnecessary space in your home — it also takes up unnecessary space in your brain. A person’s overall health is certainly not only based on what they eat, if they regularly get a decent amount of sleep or keep a fairly consistent exercise routine. Clutter and a messy closet can cause higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

So, what does your closet truly look like? Does it tend to stay looking like a clothes bomb just went off? Do you instantly panic when someone opens your closet door? Are you the type of person in a constant battle to keep a somewhat decent looking and organized closet? No matter how hard you try, will there always be loose hangers everywhere and clothes wadded up in piles? If so, then this one’s for you.

Getting dressed is one of the most important things a person will hopefully accomplish in their day — it’s second nature. Closets are what hold these essential articles of clothing that you choose to wear each day. However, they also hold something more profound, and it often goes unnoticed — a powerful connection, emotions and all sorts of different feelings and ties.

To some people, specific clothes have history attached to them and others have hopes of carrying new memories. Some make us feel strong, beautiful and powerful. Others might take you down memory lane to a simpler time. These different emotions start to pile up literally, and people hold tight to their clothes.

As time goes by, more clothes come into the closet and less come out. This is what leads to clutter, and it certainly is contagious. What is thought just to be fabric sewn together holds a special meaning to some and a feeling that cannot be replaced, but all things have to go at some point in time. The way you will feel after you get organized will leave you with a better feeling and an overall better life.

The health benefits to an un-cluttered life are endless. If you clean out your closet and get organized, you will live a more productive life. When you open your closet door and everything is nicely hung up and fits well, you will have an easier time picking out what you want to wear.

This is mainly for the ladies, but it goes for men too. You will decrease wasted time by eliminating being frustrated and stressed because you can’t find what you wanted to wear. Wasting time trying to find clothes is pointless. Make your life simpler.

Another healthy benefit of de-cluttering is you will become less stressed in your day to day life. As I mentioned above, clutter causes an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, throughout your body. Life is already stressful as it is, don’t let your closet and your lack of organization be a reason to further your stress.

This added stress can quickly affect other areas of your life. A Cornell study found that clutter can also lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices. Bite the bullet and start organizing; you never know what it could lead to. It will open up a feeling of ease, and you will become a better you.

Dr. Heidi Cox, a licensed clinical psychologist, said “one of the best ways to destress and feel less burdened in our lives is to create space, which can be emotional or physical. By physically clearing out old items which no longer serve us, we lessen our emotional load.”

So, how do you start? Well, lucky for you, there are thousands of YouTube videos, many TV series and articles on the best ways to productively clean out and de-clutter your closet. Kim Luis, the owner of Closet Reskue, says to start by taking everything out of your closet. Decide how you want things to look and where to put specific types of clothes. Then put the item back when you are sure that it is perfect.

This means that it has to fit and you know without hesitation that you will wear it. After all your perfect clothes are put neatly back into your closet, you make piles to donate or throw out. If something has not been worn in many months, throw it out. Be realistic. If you know you won’t wear something because you know that specific color doesn’t look the best on you, then throw it out. Luis emphasizes that less is more when it comes to living a healthy, organized life.

In a recent hit TV show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, homeowners learn how to choose what they wish to keep and what to get rid of. Kondo’s method is simple — does the item bring you current joy? Joy is the key here and the deciding factor of what stays and what goes. Kondo’s method stems from the basic idea that a happy, clean home comes from filling it with only the belongings that bring you joy. She also strongly encourages adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. You can find Tidying Up on Netflix.

So, today is the day to attack your closet and finally get things in order. Go through your clothes and say that final good-bye. Remember that just because you wore that specific shirt on your first date doesn’t mean you need to keep it. There is a new season for everything. Stop letting your clothes keep you from a healthy, less stressed life.

Everyone knows the TV series, Hoarders. You don’t need anything to do with that! So, I encourage you to begin your organization journey today. You will thank me later. Do little by little, and you will see just how good it makes you feel.

Elisa Robyn, Ph.D., a psychologist, puts it perfectly:

“While cleaning can be traumatic, it can also be freeing and inspiring. It is a wonderful way to transition from one stage of life to another,” Robyn said.

Now, head to those closets!