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The 5 Health Dangers Of A Messy Home

Declutter your home for a happier, healthier life.

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Clutter Can Make You Gain Weight

Cluttered closets, stacks of mail, overflowing basements and cupboards don’t just cramp your decor style-they can also have a serious impact on your health and well-being. “If your kitchen looks like a bomb went off, you’ll end up running over to Starbucks and buying some pastry thing,” says Dr. Pamela Peeke, senior medical correspondent for Discovery Health, host of the  Discovery TV series Could You Survive and author of Fit To Live.  

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Clutter Stresses You Out

Constant disorganization and mess can contribute to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and defeat, not to mention to higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, says Dr. Peeke. “Toxic stress rapidly ages you; it affects almost every single tissue and organ in your body,” she says. Whether you’re dealing with minor clutter or a major mess and depression, you need to develop a clutter-preventing maintenance system, she adds. Clutter prevention can help keep toxic stress at bay.

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Clutter May Hamper Your Workout…Or Even Cause An Injury

Who wants to workout if you have so much cleaning to do beforehand? “If your treadmill has turned into a storage rack and you haven’t seen your weights for months-but you think you know what pile they’re under-the only exercise you’ll be getting is rolling your eyes when you think about digging all that stuff out,” says Ellen Phillips, author of Kick The Clutter: Clear Out Excess Stuff: Without Losing What You Love. “You can start and finish a decluttering task in a few minutes. And that’s a good feeling!” she says.

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Clutter Can Contribute To Allergies and Asthma

According to the Mayo Clinic, newspapers, knickknacks and other clutter collects dust, which contains dust mites, microscopic organisms that can trigger allergy and asthma attacks. Dust can also contain harmful contaminants such as pesticides and lead, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to getting organized, regularly use a damp rag to pick up surface dust, and vacuum floors, carpets and furniture with a HEPA-filter vacuum.

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Clutter Can Hurt Your Sex Life

The master bedroom should be preserved as a haven and sanctuary for a couple. That means no kids’ toys, no computer, and no piles of dirty clothes, says Peter Walsh, an expert on TLC’s Clean Sweep and New York Times bestselling author author . “Without exception, when clutter is cleared and harmony is restored to a home, the sparks start flying!”

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Clutter May Signal That You’re Not Conscientious

How you’re perceived can affect everything from getting hired to getting hitched. Whether it’s your workspace, your home or even your website, people will judge your clutter and disorganization. “Many of these perceptions are automatic, so people generally don’t even realize they’re doing it,” says Sam Gosling, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You. According to Gosling’s research, people with cluttered spaces are thought to be rated lower on conscientiousness (which is often true). So tackle that messy desk once and for all!