Clutter: Our worst enemy. That overflowing mail bin on the counter, toys strewn across the living room floor, and papers spattered across your desk hardly go with your home décor.

We know it isn’t pretty, but did you know clutter could actually have a negative impact on our health? No wonder we feel so icky when we open a drawer full of knick-knacks!

Here are 3 reasons to ditch the clutter today—and how to do it.

  1. You’ll feel less stressed.

    According to a survey by the National Association for Professional Organizers, 54 percent of Americans are overwhelmed by their clutter.

    That’s not surprising. For example, if you’re frazzled trying to find your car keys buried under all the junk when you’re late to a work meeting, your stress levels are bound to go up. Even thinking about that scenario makes us feel a little tense.

    Stress was also proven to be an effect of clutter in a study by UCLA researchers in a book called Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors. In fact, these participants who lived in a cluttered area were more likely to have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

  2. You’ll feel happier.

    Clutter has been shown to lead depression, most commonly in women, according to a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. It makes sense— when you walk into a cluttered home or head to a messy desk, don’t you feel a little unhappy?

    One reason clutter can cause depression is because it can make you start to get a little mean with yourself. You might start blaming yourself about how you never get things done. That it’s going to take you forever to get to the bottom of the mess. You feel guilty that you’re not as organized as Susie Homemaker next door. All of these terrible thoughts can overload your senses and lead to feeling really badly about yourself.

    Having an organized space makes you feel more accomplished because you’re giving yourself a higher level of self-love. Even something as simple as making your bed each morning can increase happiness, according to a survey of 68,000 people by Now that’s something we can get down with.

  3. You’ll be able to think clearer.

    Messy wife, messy life? Wait, that’s not it. But we’ll go with it: When your space is filled with clutter, your overall quality of life is messy and your ability to focus is deterred, according to a study by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

    The study showed that clutter can get in the way of your brain’s ability to process information. Basically, you’re so distracted by the clutter that you’re not able to focus. The study even showed that an organized, uncluttered area has the opposite effect, and is a better environment to process information better. Talk about not thinking clearly!

Here are some ways to start decluttering today:

  • Purge your closet
  • Unsubscribe to spam-y emails
  • Throw out junk mail piling up
  • Use jars to organize kitchen cabinets
  • Use bins to organize makeup/jewelry
  • Use baskets to organize toys
  • Donate old clothes
  • Finish unfinished projects
  • Wipe down counters after you cook/eat
  • Hire professional organizer

How do you feel when your house, workspace, or even your mind is cluttered? How will you start getting things in order?