Why Clutter Can Make You Ill

Plus: Strategies to get your living space in order -- fast.
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Messy home office desk

Health woes: Anxiety symptoms like sleeplessness, headaches and acid stomach

Piles of unsorted papers and mail can mean incurring late fees or even forgetting about your BFF's upcoming bridal shower. Think about what's going on in your life that's making it hard to keep things orderly -- whether it's a new baby or a promotion.

Declutter strategy: Start small. Your inbox doesn't have to be empty, but you should be able to find a pen and paper if someone calls -- and you need to establish a place for important papers. Set 15 to 30 minutes to work on one corner of the desk at a time and repeat until complete. Then, set a rule to not let paper sit around for more than a couple of days: Pay it, answer it, file it or toss it.


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