Jan 18, 2023 - News

Northwest Arkansas organizers share trade secrets to address the mess

The biggest clutter culprits from each room of the house.

The biggest clutter culprits from each room. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Clean your space and your mind will follow.

State of play: Mental health ranked high, along with physical and fiscal reboots, for top 2023 resolutions, Forbes reports. One way to free up headspace — others include exercise, mindfulness, social activity and sufficient sleep — is to declutter.

Why it matters: It's never been easier to acquire stuff. And when your possessions pile up, the result is often more stress than happiness, two NWA organizers tell Axios.

What they're saying: "We're much more impacted by our environments than we realize," said Amber Taggard, owner of The Organizer Chicks.

  • Armed with a master's degree in clinical mental health, Taggard points out that cortisol levels — a hormone that drives the body's stress reactions — spike when we see disorder.

The big picture: Stats on how much clutter each household in the U.S. has are a bit squishy, but consider these often-cited numbers:

The intrigue: These examples aren't outrageous and don't approach hoarding disorder, officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Be smart: If you're looking to declutter, Taggard and Hillary Jeter, owner of Clutter Away NWA, offer a few simple steps to get started:

  • Start small. The brain is wired to respond to small victories, Jeter said.
  • Sort items from one cabinet or drawer and put them into categories. Edit and purge each category by evaluating if you love, need or use the items.
  • If an item can't be categorized, toss it.
  • Put what's left in a container, ideally with a label, so each article has a home.
  • Once objects are right-sized to your space, maintaining a one-in, one-out policy is key to long-term success.

The bottom line: Consider that every object takes up brain power and can come with negative feelings.

  • Ridding yourself of excess helps alleviate those feelings and can lead to better mental health.

If it all becomes overwhelming, consider asking a friend for help or a professional who's not emotionally invested in your stuff.

  • Services in NWA begin at about $55 per hour.

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