I’m pleased to share with you that I have the honor of being the featured speaker at this month’s Health and Wellness Network of Commerce–Manhattan.  I’ll be speaking to a group of health and wellness professionals, all dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for themselves and their clients.

You may wonder: What does organizing have to do with health and wellness? Well, in my journeys as a professional organizer, I’ve learned that there is more of an overlap than you may think. For many of us, our space is both a reflection of and a contributor to our mental, emotional, and physical states.

I want to give you, my beloved community, a sneak peak at what I’ll be delving into Wednesday evening.  Here are some of the most fascinating tidbits I uncovered in my research, interesting evidence that points to the link between clutter and stress.  This data comes from a groundbreaking book entitled Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, which explores the households of modern Americans, tracking their living, spending, and acquiring habits.  It’s a fascinating read and sheds light on our relationships with our Stuff and our Space.

1. Clutter
“A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women feel. Men, on the other hand, don’t seem bothered by mess, which accounts for tensions between tidy wives and their clutter bug hubbies.”  So there
is a biological explanation for this common battle I find with many of my clients!  Now that we know there’s a valid basis, what steps might you and your partner take to come to terms on what constitutes an acceptable amount of stuff, and what is a mess?

2. Kids Toys
“The United States has 3.1 percent of the world’s children, yet U.S families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally.”  Our ever increasing mountains of toys can be a stand in for face-to-face time with our kiddos, further distancing, rather than fostering, parent-child relationships.  Rooms overflowing with toys create added stress for parents who feel that picking up the aftermath of play time is yet another obligation.  What role (intentional and unintended) do toys play in your household?3. Refrigerators
“The look of the refrigerator door hints to the sheer quantities of possessions a family has and how they are arranged in the home.”  Simply put, the more cluttered your fridge, the more cluttered your home is likely to be. Does this ring true for you?
4. Garages
“Close to 90 percent of garage square footage in the middle-class L.A. neighborhoods may now be used for storage rather than automobiles.”  Families struggling to cope with household clutter often relegate it to the garage rather than taking action on those items in the moment.  These chaotic dumping grounds are visual reminders of the time and energy we do not have to attend to the items we invite into our life.  Is your garage holding onto delayed decisions on your behalf?
5. Food
“On average about 25 percent of evening meals involve no home labor: the food is obtained via carryout, delivery, or at a restaurant with friends and family.”  Our stockpiles of convenience, pre-packaged, and processed foods allow us to save time, energy, and often money when preparing a home-cooked meal feels like too much.  But at what cost? Beyond the clutter factor, if kitchens and pantries reflect our health and nutrition priorities, what message does a home overflowing with processed convenience foods send?

Finally, I invite any of you in the NY area to attend Wednesday’s meeting to connect with inspiring health and wellness professionals and to hear more about using organizing as a tool for reducing stress in your life.