Declutter your home for better brain health

This content is sponsored by The Mather.

Local Senior Living Community Offers Research-Based Advice on Decluttering

Kick off the new year by clearing up clutter. Making a resolution to pare down belongings and get organized will improve your living space and your brain health. That’s right: cluttered or disorganized spaces can actually negatively affect our productivity, mood, and sleep quality.

Image provided by The Mather

“As someone who’s passionate about interior design, I love clean surfaces and uncluttered rooms,” says Gale Morgan, Senior Vice President for Mather, the organization behind The Mather, a Life Plan Community for those 62 and better projected to open in Tysons, Virginia, in 2024. “But it’s not just about appearance—trimming down and organizing their belongings can free people from their stuff. It has the effect of clearing the mind.”

Your Brain & Clutter

Multiple studies have explored how people are affected by cluttered environments; some focused on work productivity, but others are more general. Here is what the research reveals:

  • Neuroscience researchers have found that some people’s brains are better than others at handling disorder. Some of us may find that cluttered spaces—visual evidence of disorganization—can overload our cognitive resources and inhibit focus and memory.
  • Clutter can stress us out and even make us depressed. One study found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people whose homes were cluttered.
  • Another study found that those who sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
  • A 2016 study nicknamed the “chaotic kitchen study” showed that students in a messy kitchen were more likely to eat more unhealthy snacks than those in a clean kitchen. (They did not overeat healthy snacks, which were also offered.) The researchers say a chaotic environment can trigger a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices.

Pro Tips on Getting Organized

When organizing your home, reducing the amount of papers, belongings, and other “stuff” in your space is probably more than half the battle, says Gale. For those with a large house or lots of belongings, she says finding a starting place can be a stumbling block. “You need to find a method of breaking it down into manageable chunks. Once you find a place to get started, it will snowball,” she says. She recommends starting in rooms that you use the least, or that are less personal, such as spare bedrooms, the laundry room, the dining room (if you’re a kitchen-table family), or the formal living room.

“I’d say set a goal of organizing one room a day—some may not take that long, so you can take some time off,” says Gale. “But if you find a particular room is taking you longer, just stop and move on to the next one. Don’t get hung up—that just means that one room was too hard, too emotional. You should keep moving and come back to it later.”

Downsizing, decluttering, and organizing your home will create visual order that you and your brain can enjoy.

Uncluttered Life, Paralleled Style

With floor plans ranging up to 3,300 square feet, apartment homes at The Mather provide plenty of space, along with ample storage. Keeping rooms cleared of clutter will help to highlight the unmistakable style of the home.

With floor-to-ceiling windows offering natural light and expansive views, high-end appointments and finishes, smart-home connectivity, and flexible open floor plans, one- and two-bedroom homes at The Mather offer style, comfort, and convenience. Each residence has been meticulously designed by award-winning architects to be as functional as it is sophisticated.

Plus, residents at The Mather can enjoy access to all that the elegantly designed community includes, such as

  • a fitness center and day spa
  • an indoor pool
  • a group exercise studio
  • a cardio/weight training
  • a variety of restaurants
  • an outdoor park, walking paths, and more

The Mather offers elegant style–but there’s so much more behind the beautiful design,” says Gale. “That’s why we say that true luxury lies in the peace of mind that comes with living in an extraordinary Life Plan Community.”

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