FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Tidying up seems to be all the rage! There are videos on social media about how to do it, and Marie Kondo has become a celebrity with her methods of organization. Dr. Craig Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist, says clearing out the clutter has real health benefits. "We come from a culture where we like to acquire things, and that's, you know, quite normal," said Dr. Sawchuk. If the amount of stuff coming in exceeds the amount going out, we can get lost in our own clutter. "The brain likes organization. It doesn't necessarily have to be minimalistic, but it really likes organization. It reduces stress in our life," Dr. Sawchuk said. Too much clutter may increase stress and risk of depression. It also may create time management problems that can make other issues worse.
Dr. Sawchuk recommended getting started by scheduling a time to clean on the calendar. He also suggested a person tell a friend or family member when they are going to clear the clutter in order to be held accountable. And lastly, Dr. Sawchuk said making cleaning fun by listening to music or thinking about how it will feel when the clutter is gone is another way to improve a person’s quality of life. If the mess is overwhelming, Sawchuck suggests talking with a health care provider.