Picture this: You get home from a long day at work only to find mail scattered all over your kitchen table, an unmade bed, and three days' worth of clothes piled up on the chair in your bedroom. There are a few dirty dishes in the sink, and odds and ends are piled on the surface of your coffee table. Does that image make you your pulse quicken? You're not alone. In fact, research has found that when women described their homes as "chaotic" or "messy," they were more likely to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"Our external spaces reflect our internal state," explains home decluttering expert Cary Fortin. "An orderly, organized, simplified home supports and encourages a calm, focused, content mental state. Crossing the threshold into your home when it's organized, you'll notice your shoulders drop, your heart rate decreases, you breathe more deeply because everything is as it should be. Life can be hectic; a decluttered, organized home can serve as an antidote to that overwhelm."
As happiness expert Gretchen Rubin so eloquently puts it, "Outer order contributes to inner calm." So what steps can you take to create outer order? Here's what the experts have to say.