Is your closet so full that you can’t even shut the doors? Do you have trouble choosing your outfit for the day because you have too much stuff? Have you ever started to clean your closet but stopped because it was so overwhelming? Don’t quit now. There are several health benefits to keeping a clean closet.
Clutter = Stress
UCLA conducted a study that showed people with cluttered homes have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol alters your body’s immune system responses and suppresses your digestive system, reproductive system, and growth processes. This complex system also communicates with the regions of the brain that control mood, motivation, and fear. This means with less clutter in your closet, there will be less stress in your life. You’ll literally be healthier after cleaning out your closet!
image via Flickr by Rubbermaid Homefree Series
What Can High Levels of Cortisol Do to Your Body?
At normal levels, cortisol controls blood sugar levels, regulates metabolism, reduces inflammation, controls your wake/sleep cycle, and assists with memory. Cortisol supports a developing fetus during pregnancy. It is a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being. But during times of high stress, cortisol levels can rise to dangerous levels.
High levels of cortisol can cause rapid weight gain, lower the libido, and raise blood pressure. It can also trigger anxiety and depression, cause headaches and heart disease, and mess with your digestion, worsening things like acid reflux or IBS. Too much cortisol can cause skin changes, such as acne, easy bruising, and flushed cheeks. It can also cause muscle weakness, severe fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
We need a little cortisol for our health, but too much is dangerous. By keeping a clean closet, you can reduce your stress and keep your cortisol levels in a healthy range.
Good for the Planet and Good for Your Clothes
Over 19 billion pounds of textile waste is thrown away every year. By “recycling” your unused clothes, you can eliminate some of this waste. The best ways to recycle your clothes include:
- Donating them to Goodwill or homeless shelters
- Selling them on ThredUp or Poshmark
- Sewing a t-shirt quilt
Selling or consigning your clothes can help your wallet, too. Many women have thousands of dollars worth of clothes and handbags in their closets. ThredUp gets over 10,000 items a day, in like-new condition. Your unworn clothes can be added to that number, and your clothes can be sold without you having to lift a finger.
Decluttering is good for your clothes if you plan on keeping them, too. Stuffing too many clothes into your closet can damage them. Suits, dresses, and jackets can lose their shape. It also saves time. That adds to your stress, too!
Having a nice, clean, and organized closet gives you a sense of calm and clarity. It keeps your cortisol levels lower, which keeps you healthier. It also helps your wallet, your home, and the environment.