Staying Organized Can Help Improve Memory, Research Suggests
Cleaning up your room on occasion can make you feel good. Keeping it tidy over the long run may help support better brain health and memory, studies suggest.
People are more likely to forget things if their homes are cluttered or their office notes are in disarray, say health experts. Clutter can be distracting and create competition in your brain for resources that limits your cognitive focusing power, according to research.
A cluttered environment diminishes one’s ability to concentrate, other experts suggest. The brain can overload when there’s too much going on, as it is wired to keep track of only a few details at once for a short period of time, other experts add.
Clutter also can create stress. In one study, researchers found that women who described their homes as cluttered had lower moods and higher stress levels, factors known to affect one’s memory.
Benefits of Staying Organized
Clean environments, on the other hand, have been found to improve one’s mood and concentration, allowing people to focus and better remember details. Fortunately, there are tried-and-true steps that pharmacists can suggest to clients on ways to reduce clutter, get organized, and have a clearer mind.
- Keep a to-do list and keep it current, marking off tasks as you accomplish them. Manually write down your checklist, as this increases the likelihood you’ll remember what you need to do.
- Store your personal items, such as wallets, keys and glasses, in the same place each day so you can easily find them.
- Get a file cabinet and label your files so they will make sense to you. Do the same with files on your computer.
- Keep a tote bag or briefcase handy and filled with items that you’ll need for the day ahead.
- Place colorful sticky notes on things to remind you of important upcoming dates or tasks.
- Organize and clean as you go along. If you’re cooking dinner, for example, put the dirty pots and pans in the dishwasher before you sit down to the meal. Use a rainy day to go through your closets and clean out items that you no longer wear.
A clean home environment will support your mood and give you time to time to do more of the things you enjoy, experts note. Keeping a tidy home can have other surprising benefits. One experiment found that an orderly environment prompted participants to make healthy choices and be more generous. Compared to their counterparts in a disorderly environment, study participants in the tidy room donated more money to charity and were more likely to select an apple over a candy bar as a parting gift, researchers observed.
So get out the boxes and start organizing. You’ll feel better and think more clearly.