Tag Archives: mom

The Hidden Costs of Clutter for Women

Decluttering is good for your health!

Decluttering is good for your health!

You’re probably familiar with the notion that clutter is expensive – costing you money in buying things you already have and costing you time from inefficiency. Turns out clutter can cost you your health as well.

A recent study by researchers at UCLA’s Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) shows a link between women’s stress hormone, cortisol, and the amount of clutter in their home. According to the study:

“Mothers who use key words in their self-narrated home tours indicating that the home is messy or cluttered actually experience a higher rate of depressed mood toward evening, based on cortisol measures over a number of days.” Life At Home In The Twenty-First Century, Arnold, et. al.

The groundbreaking 4-year study looked at the living habits of 32 families with school age children in the Los Angeles area. The objective was to get a real picture of how middle-class families live.

An article and video from KCET highlights a few interesting facts from the study:

  • The United States has 3.1% of the world’s children and purchases 40% of the world’s toys
  • Our society has the most material possessions per household in global history
  • 75 percent of Angelenos are parking their cars in the streets or in the driveways and they’re using their garages as storage units
  • Family photos on display: an average of 85. Home offices: typically, over 2,000 non-paper items. Garages: 50 to 700 objects. Refrigerator doors hold an average of 52 doodads.

So what’s our take away? REDUCE THE VOLUME! Any effort you make to reduce the volume of stuff in your home will boost your mood and lower your stress level.

Meet the challenge! Grab a donation bag, see if you can fill it and drop it off this week.


Filed under Bedroom, Closets, Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Living Room, Memorabilia, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Making the Most of an Empty Nest

Your children have flown the coop.  What do you do with what they've left behind?

Your children have flown the coop. What do you do with what they’ve left behind?

Once your child is truly launched into the world as an independent adult, the challenges and opportunities of being an empty nester arise.

  • how to make them feel welcome in the home without keeping their room untouchable – a shrine
  • how to set up the space so it can be used when they aren’t there but easily host their visits
  • what to do with memorabilia – what to display vs. store vs. jettison
  • what to do with useable but unneeded items in general


  • Create new space to re-purpose for hobbies, exercise, guests
  • Provide extra income by renting out space
  • Help your child transition into adulthood. Re-defining “their room” re-inforces the idea that they are creating their own lives.
  • Re-claiming “their” room for general use reinforces their autonomy


Clearing out space helps you to take stock of the memories and the gifts you shared with your offspring.  You can step back and appreciate the work you put into being the best parent or caretaker that you could be.  What you’re left with is discerning what you own, what you want to use the space for and what new adventures might await you with this opening.

So how do you go about it?

  • If possible, have a conversation with your kid to discern what’s important to them and invite them into the process
  • If you can’t imagine tackling the whole room at once, can you approach one drawer, one closet, or one corner of the garage
  • Think of who else can get benefit from outgrown soccer shoes or an unused weight set.  You can pass on these outgrown tools of parenting to someone who could use the boost.
  • Be kind to yourself and take your time. The emotional impact of this change can be daunting and those emotions can slow the process

This isn’t usually a “fun” process, but going through it to the other side can open up new avenues for bringing in richness.

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Filed under Empty Nest, General Organizing, Kids, Strategies