If you won’t work at a messy desk and can’t focus until everything around you looks beautiful, don’t worry—it’s probably not OCD, it’s science. A Princeton University study confirms what you’ve likely found to be true: Clutter makes it harder to focus. This means disorganized spaces are clouding your attention and draining your energy.
Another study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women living in homes they described as “cluttered” or “unfinished” were more likely to express signs of depression, fatigue, and stress. Women who lived in homes that they described as restorative had lower cortisol levels—stress hormones—and a better mood over the course of the day.
The good news is, tidying up to live a healthier, happier life may be easier than we think. To find out just how to start living a life that is equal parts beautiful and orderly, we reached out to some of our favorite organization experts on Instagram. Here are their favorite tips and some inspiring photos of organized spaces that make us want to drop everything and clean our homes.
Caroline Dilbeck // @OrganizeNashville
How do you guys organize your mail as it comes in? << Especially this time of year with the constant influx of year end statements>> I felt like our old system of one inbox tray was not working 📥 so we went vertical and now each have our own magazine file to serve as our individual inbox. Fingers crossed that this new system works because today I feel like I am drowning in paper 📩 and don't want to file another piece… EVER! #reallife #taxseason #paper #tamethepaper #inbox #organizenashville #orgnash #organizing #organize #orgnash2016 #paperorganization #office #officeorganization #filing #commandcenter #solutions
For those who spend too much time watching HGTV and pinning DIY projects, Organize Nashville will satisfy all your home remodel cravings. Scroll through Caroline Dilbeck’s Instagram for do-it-yourself home decor with a Tennessee flair. Then check out her website for work–life balance tips to organization hacks. This quick tip from Dilbeck is for every woman who finds herself cringing at her closet each morning:
“Place a small basket in the corner of your closet for items you wish to donate. For example, that shirt that’s too small or those shoes you haven’t worn in a year. When it’s full, it’s time to take it to your favorite donation spot.”
Rachel Rosenthal // @RachelandComp
Clutter builds up quickly, so we’re relieved that Rachel Rosenthal has decluttering tips for every area of the home. Her Instagram is filled with quirky organization hacks (and photos of her adorable twin girls). She gave us practical storage tips for three things every woman needs to keep organized:
Jewelry: Hang necklaces on a cork board with decorative pushpins of different colors and shapes. For smaller items like rings and earrings, use an ice cube tray.
Kitchen tools: Arrange your kitchenware by frequency of use. Put dishes you use every day on an easy-to-reach lower shelf and special-occasion pieces up above. Usually with kitchenware, it is out of sight, out of mind. So make sure to keep items you want and use close by.
Makeup: Store makeup brushes and other tools in empty votive candle holders. These jars are the perfect size and are often very pretty and already in your home.
Janet M. Taylor // @OrganizerJanet
Janet M. Taylor is not only a professional organizer, but she’s also a speaker, author, and business founder. Whether for home or office organization, her blog, Totally Organized, and Insta feed are full of tips for staying organized online and IRL. She advises us to establish daily routines to keep our stuff—and our schedules—in check:
Keys: Place your keys on a mount hook near the door or in a small dish on your dresser to establish a smooth morning routine and avoid that daily game of hide-and-go-seek.
Mail: Put all incoming mail in a basket or decorative box to avoid losing it. Then, schedule a time once a week to go through the mail pile so your important letters will be remembered and taken care of. Toss junk mail immediately. Don’t allow it to accumulate in your home.
Monica Leed & Melody Mesick // @SimplySpaced
For photos of light and airy organized nooks interspersed with inspirational quotes, look no farther than Simply Spaced‘s charming Insta. The secret to a well-ordered space is not just organization, but also style. Simply Spaced will help you create a life that is clutter-free and full of beauty.
Monica Leed of Simply Spaced told us to mentally prepare for paring down our belongings by creating a donation bin for items we may find difficult to give away:
“If you’re trying to declutter your home, designate a bin, bag, or basket as the donation center. For those who have a harder time letting go, this habit can help alleviate giver’s remorse by offering ‘trial separation.’ If you don’t grab for an item between donation drops, it’s likely a sign you made the right decision!”
Aly Finkelstein // @OrganizedByAly
Is your closet a place where unworn clothes sit and rot and homeless junk goes to die? Aly Finkelstein shows us it doesn’t have to be this way. Organized by Aly is a feed full of meticulously organized closets to make us swoon.
Her organizing tip for us? In with the new, out with the old. “Keep the same number of hangers in your closet at all times. When something new comes in, something old must come out. This way you’re never overcrowded. Keeping what you can fit is essential to being able to stay organized!”
Nialya Suarez // @Organized_Simplicity
Nialya Suarez of Organized_Simplicity on Instagram shares weekly “simple solutions” on her blog so your living space can embody elegant—and practical—minimalism. Her top tip is to start with a clean slate (sort of): “Take everything out of the space you are working in and edit items while being highly critical of what will remain, always keeping in mind to choose quality over quantity. Less truly is more!”
Lindsay Frykman // @CrazyOrganized
If you’re looking for tips for all the little knickknacks that fill up your home, Lindsay Frykman’s blog has our favorite tricks for keeping your little belongings CrazyOrganized. Her biggest piece of advice is to give yourself a margin:
“Only fill any storage space 75 percent full at the max, whether that’s storage bins, drawers, or cabinets. It’s inevitable that you’ll find more items to put in the storage space (I always do!), and an overstuffed drawer is not an organized one! “
Keep your home clutter-free by trying a few tips from these professionals—and drawing inspiration from their living spaces. If an organized home means maintaining a restorative environment and a happy mood, it’s well worth the investment.
Photo Credit: Molly Winters