You may think that clutter around your house doesn’t affect you but that is not the case. Studies show that clutter is associated with life dissatisfaction as well as increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is responsible for everything from regulating blood pressure to controlling your sleep cycles, it is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” So, while you might think that dining room table full of books, backpacks, or clothes is not a big deal, it could be causing you to lose sleep and add unneeded stress.

Our homes should be a place to unwind not a place to increase your stress. The best way to address the problem of clutter before it becomes clutter is to limit what comes into your home. Yes, that can be a difficult thing, but before you bring something home take a minute to evaluate if that object will be useful, if you already have something similar, or if it brings you joy. Once an object makes it into your home make sure it has a home, meaning that it has a designated location that it will always live. Lastly, declutter what you already own. Do you really need multiple copies of your favorite book or that free frisbee you have never used? Probably not. As a side note, you should not declutter so you can make space for more things. Decluttering should be used as a tool for recognizing what is adding value to your life and what does not.

If you are not up for decluttering, below are 5 easy actions that can help cut down the clutter in your home.

Put your shoes back where they belong.

It’s easy, I promise. Your shoes should have a home and they should return there when you take them off. Piles of shoes are unsightly and take longer to put away than one pair.

Create a uniform for yourself or pick out your clothes the night before.

If you have busy mornings, knowing what you are going to where ahead of time can alleviate stress and that pile of clothes you tried on and decided not to wear. Coming home to the after math of a clothing tornado or that chair piled high with clothes, you know the one, can easily put you in a bad mood.

Clean up while cooking.

Most people wait until the food has been cooked and eaten to clean the kitchen. The problem with that is by the time you are finished eating cleaning is the last thing on your mind. Instead, while the pasta is boiling or stew is simmering clean up what you can. It will be a relief when you are finished eating and there are only a few dishes to clean.

Don’t let paper pile up.

Mail, paperwork, magazines, books, etc. cause most of the clutter I see. Address that bill immediately or put it in an inbox and go through the box weekly. Books and magazines should be put away if they are not your current read.

Make your bed every morning.

It’s not clutter and it might seem silly but starting your morning by accomplishing what seems like a small task will encourage you to complete other tasks throughout the day. Not to mention pulling that blanket back to slip into bed at night feels much better than crawling into a pile of sheets.