Tidy House, Tidy Mind

Melissa Capps helps clients streamline their lives, one messy space at a time

E04a8978It is easy to walk into a cluttered, messy space in your home, armed with every intention of tackling the mess, and walk right back out. Facing the challenge of tidying and finding the right place for every little thing can be daunting, to say the least. When it is all too much, MELISSA CAPPS and her business, Simple Spaces, could be the answer. While many dread the task of tidying their own homes, it’s a job that Capps has long enjoyed.

“Organizing and decorating are things that I’ve enjoyed since the time I was old enough to ‘play house,’” says Capps. “Growing up, we had a big play house in our backyard, and my sister and I had the best time outfitting it.”

Capps earned her undergraduate degree in human services where she worked in the mental health field – which, interestingly, has some correlation with her current work helping others tidy and organize their homes. Capps learned of this connection firsthand as a new mother, when she realized how a cluttered home affected her personal well-being.

Once her children were born, Capps admits that her home resembled a war zone. “When our boys were ages 1, 3, and 5, we decided we needed more space, and sold our first home to move into a larger one,” says Capps. “Our real estate agent hired a home stager to help us get the house show-ready. We did everything she said, and in 10 days our home was under contract.” The experiment revealed other benefits on top of their home’s quick sale. “We lived very minimally in the time we were marketing the house, and I discovered that I loved the way it felt,” Capps said. “When we moved into our larger home after that sale, we had downsized our belongings. I never went back.”

Capps’ experience led her to launch Simple Spaces in 2012. At first, she focused on helping others achieve the transformative experience of a tidy, more intentional home. “In the beginning, I offered only organizing: decluttering, downsizing, space planning, packing/unpacking services and consulting,” she says. “A few years later, I added in staging for real estate and styling services.”

This massive change in attitude towards “stuff” is extremely helpful for anyone who sometimes feels overwhelmed by messy spaces. “Clutter triggers the release of cortisol (stress hormone) in our bodies,” says Capps. “Too much of this leads to many mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.”

Some people may not realize the effect stems from their home, Capps noted, until they experience the difference a streamlined space can make. “The message that clutter sends to our brain is involuntary, and most people do not connect the sense of unease they feel with the chaos in their physical environment, especially when it’s at home. On the other hand, organization creates calm, peace and feelings of being in control. Walking into the bedroom at night to a room that is tidy and inviting makes you feel like all is well in the world, your work is done and you can relax and rest easy.”

The most common areas that need to be decluttered are garages and kitchens. Garages are a place to stash items out of sight while kitchens are in constant use and get messy several times a day. These could be the first spaces to tackle for those wondering if an organized space could improve their quality of life. “I strongly believe in the relationship between clutter and mental health, and I want to help people reclaim peace in their homes and relationships,” says Capps. “Material possessions are meant to serve us, but I see too many people being overwhelmed by them. If you feel like you’re in a constant state of anxiety, foggy brained or easily irritated, bringing in a professional should be prioritized.”

However, it doesn’t need to feel like an emergency before you bring in a professional. Some of Capps’ clients utilize her services to free up time in otherwise busy schedules. “You don’t have to be at the end of your rope to reach out for help,” she says. “Many of the clients I work with are busy professionals, parents or both and they are just unable to carve out the time it takes to declutter and get organized.”

Once it is done, keeping it straight can be made simple with just a few changes to your daily routine. “The beauty in assigning a home for everything (and making sure the family is on the same page), is that our home is just a few minutes away from being clutter-free,” says Capps.

Capps practices what she preaches, using these methods in her own home. “We also have reserved our bedroom as the ‘no compromise’ zone. The bed gets made every morning (rule is whomever gets up last makes the bed). The dresser and night tables are clutter-free and only hold lamps and pretty décor,” she says. “The times when we don’t follow this rule, I totally notice a difference in the way I feel walking into our room, especially at the end of a long day.”

To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.

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Categories: Health