You know those closets and drawers and cupboards that are so full, they won't quite close? It turns out they could be bad for your health. We asked top organizing experts to help us get a grip.
Get the urge to purge
Every time you look around and feel anxious that the mess is getting out of hand, your body releases
cortisol, one of the classic stress hormones, says Steven Maier, PhD, a neuroscience professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Arianne Cohen, the author of "Help, It's Broken! A Fix-It Bible for the Repair-Impaired," asked top organizing experts to help us get a grip.
Kitchen -- Clear off some counter space
Purging: Even Emeril doesn't need six spatulas and four whisks; two of each will do, so start by tossing extras. While you're at it, check expiration dates on foodstuffs and pitch anything that's past its prime.
Household desk -- put your desk on a zone diet
Purging: Begin by throwing away the no-brainers, including junk mail, expired coupons, brochures, and catalogs.
Next, create desk zones. "Have a bill-paying zone, a stationery zone, a mail zone, and a reading zone," says Kosloff. "Keep everything you need for each activity in neat containers."
Prevention: Tackle your zones weekly, particularly bills and mail. For incoming papers such as children's art or tax information, keep one folder or container for each category, and at the end of the year (or month, if things really pile up fast), choose the keepers and purge the rest.