Wellness isn’t only about exercising and eating healthy. Creating a clean, uncluttered living space has a major impact on your overall well-being, too.
I spoke with experts to get a deeper understanding about how clutter can impact our mental health. Then I went a step further and gathered some helpful tips to get more organized, so I can see for myself how it helps. I’m starting with activewear… because digging through piles of leggings and sports bras is stressful, right?!
A cluttered home doesn’t make us feel our best
Katie Sussman, a psychotherapist based in New York tells me, “Organization can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Research shows an association between increased clutter, disorganization, and well-being, although individual variables may impact this.”
“Clutter can be associated with increased stress, shame, feelings of anxiety, and low mood. Not only can organization have a positive impact on this, but it can also have a positive impact on sleep, focus, sense of accomplishment, and personal relationships,” explains Sussman.
And wait, there’s more. It also turns out that clutter has the potential to affect our physical health, and maybe even lead to weight gain. “There is not as much literature in this area, although increased stress levels can be associated with emotional eating,” says Sussman.
Start by re-organizing your workout wardrobe
Being able to easily find your favorite leggings, that sports bra that holds everything in during your run, or the ultra comfy tank top you just love to wear can put you in a better state of mind before you hit the gym.
It saves time, too. There’s nothing worse than digging through your legging drawer for 5 minutes when you’re already running late for spin class.
But while organizing drawers can be easy, keeping them that way is another story. Let’s be honest, activewear isn’t exactly the easiest type of clothing to fold and store. Searching through those stacks of t-shirts and finding your fave all the way at the bottom, or trying to find that navy blue sports bra can easily destroy any organization you achieved.
The solution? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how you store this type of clothing.
There are a few tricks to help you accomplish this
I recently spoke with Brandie Larsen and Ryan Eisland, founders of Home + Sort to learn the secrets to making your activewear drawer Pinterest-worthy, as well as the easiest way to store your home gym equipment.
If Home+Sort sounds familiar, it’s because they’ve organized some pretty impressive celebrity closets including those of Katherine Heigl, Candace Cameron Bure, Chrissy Metz, and Hannah Brown. They also have a show called “Sort It Out” on The Design Network and a super chic line of home organizing products with mDesign.
Less Is More
It’s far easier to get organized when there are fewer items to work with. Home+Sort recommends starting by evaluating what you have and editing your wardrobe accordingly. Does everything fit? If not, it’s time to give away or donate anything in good condition that’s no longer your size or perhaps no longer reflects your sense of style. If garments are ripped, torn, or stained (especially from sweat, which happens to the best of us), it’s time to toss them and move on.
Take a look and actually try on your sports bras. If anything is stretched out or no longer supportive enough for you, it’s also time to say goodbye. Then treat yourself to something new.
Don’t forget to check your sock drawer. After all, adjusting your socks mid-workout is incredibly annoying. On the flip side, a fresh new pair of socks can make your workout even better. Worn-out bottoms, stretched elastics, or socks with holes should be thrown away.
If you’re a Pilates or barre devotee, remember to check the bottom of your grip socks. If the grips are missing or no longer sticky, it’s best to replace them because you don’t want your feet to slip during an intense pilé circuit.
Learn to File Fold
Before you begin your organizing journey, it’s time to forget everything you know about folding and learn how to file fold.
“File folding keeps your clothes really tight and tidy in a drawer. It is a method where folding kind of sits up on its side, like files in a file box, but it’s with your clothes. The great part of it is that you can remove an item without the whole drawer falling apart,” explain the professional organizers.
It might take a few tries to get the hang of file folding, but ultimately it’s worth retraining yourself. “It’s just a game changer, especially for athletic pants, sports bras, and other types of activewear.”
The biggest advantage to this folding method is how it helps you see everything in your activewear drawers, saving you both time and frustration. “You can see everything in rows versus having to take everything out to see what’s on the bottom of a stack. It helps you quickly find what you’re looking for. Because we all have those favorites, right?”
Here are some step-by-step guides on how to file fold all of your activewear.
How To File Fold Leggings
Put leggings on a table
Fold them in half putting one leg over the other
Fold in the crotch
Take the bottom of the leggings and fold them up to the waistband
Fold leggings over twice so it forms a small square that can stand up in a drawer
How To File Fold Sports Bras
Place sports bra on a table with the front side down
Fold the straps down to the band
Fold the right side over the left
Rotate the bra so the open side faces down
Fold the open side to the closed side
How To File Fold Tank Tops
Put your tank top on a table. The label should face down.
Fold over the top of the tank ⅔ of the way down
Fold over the left side halfway covering the tag
Fold the right side over the tank completely
Fold the bottom of the leggings ⅓ of the way up
Fold over again
How To File Fold T-Shirts
Place the t-shirt on a table horizontally with the label down and orient it so the neck hole faces the right
Fold the bottom ⅔ of the way up
Fold the top to the bottom
Rotate the shirt vertically
Fold over from the bottom so you can see the label
Rotate vertically again
Fold over from the bottom halfway
Fold over again
Consider Your Closet To Store Activewear
If you have an unusually large workout wardrobe or your dresser is already full, Home+Sort tells me it’s best to store your activewear in a closet instead. “We have many clients that hang their activewear because they have a lot of it and it isn’t easy to fold.”
While you can easily put tanks and t-shirts on hangers, as well as fold over or clip leggings like any other pair of pants, sports bras can be a little bit tricky. The organizers recommend hanging them on hooks inside your closet or using a hanger.
Alternatively, if you have adequate shelf space, you may want to consider storing your activewear in baskets instead of in drawers.
How To Organize Your Home Gym
Whether you have a dedicated room for exercising or need to move all your equipment to the living room or bedroom before your home sweat sesh, everyone needs to store bands, blocks, yoga mats, and other equipment somewhere. Home+Sort recommends opting for a rolling cart. “They work great. The carts are cute and available in all kinds of colors. So they not only look good, but they’re also very functional. You can roll them out of the way if you need space or move it closer if you need to grab different equipment as you exercise.”
To upgrade the look of your cart, the sisters suggest making it hotel-like by rolling towels and stocking bottles of water. “That would look very fancy. Plus, you stay hydrated and dry.”
If you have more space, shelves and baskets are other options, but rolling carts work for most people.
What’s your favorite activewear organization tip?!
Is there anything I left out?! Tell me your best organization hacks in the comments!