The Psychological Effects of Clutter

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Did you know there are psychological effects of clutter?

It’s true. In fact I would have never thought to associate psychological effects and clutter. It makes since though when you think about it.

Just look at folks who have a hard time letting go of things. They can’t just let go because of the psychological effect the clutter is having on them.

If you are here because you having a hard time getting rid of clutter then it is important that you understand why, how, and when to clear the clutter.

Maybe you have tried several times to get rid of the clutter but it just comes back or you wasn’t able to rid of it at all.

Why Decluttering Won’t Work

If you are not clear about why you want to declutter the clutter will eventually find its way back into your home. You know kind of like those 10 pounds you lost and gained right back.

You must be clear about your intentions and the outcome you want. Why you want it and by when.

You need to look at decluttering like a goal. When we set goals we know why, when, where, and how. Well sometimes the how part comes as move forward. But decluttering works the same way.

If you simply set a goal to declutter and move forward with action you will eventually reach your end goal. However you must acknowledge the following:

  • Understand Your Attachment to Possessions
  • Mindless decluttering is temporary. 

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Clutter Will Destroy Your Life

If you don’t take control of the clutter it will destroy your life. Clutter affects so many parts of our lives.

Did you know that clutter affects your ability to focus? Think about it.

Have you ever tried to focus on something like maybe reading a book or watching your favorite tv show but things keep popping into your thoughts like that pile of laundry, or maybe you start wondering where you last seen something, or you suddenly remember you missed an appointment.

Our minds begin to wonder and before you know it 15 – 20 minutes passed by. You just missed half the tv show or read three pages and have no idea what happened or took place.

This happens in our careers and education as well.

Is Clutter Bad for Your Health?

The short answer here is Yes! Clutter affects your life in many ways. It affects your:

  • diet
  • mental ability to focus
  • relationships
  • respiratory
  • unsafe (hazard)
  • decreases productivity
  • financial burdens
  • and so much more…….

What is Clutter a Sign of

If you find you constantly worry about things it could be a sign you have too much clutter. Anxiety is also a sign of clutter.

It has been proven that folks who are always irritated or frustrated probably have too much clutter in their lives. I personally believe this to be true from my own personal experiences.

My daughter who is a clutter bug is always frustrated and irritated to say the least. She is always late and can never find anything. Sadly this is a sign of too much clutter. You should see her room. I shouldn’t say that. I am actually really proud of her.

Since she moved into her own place she has decluttered not only her living space but her car as well!

However this is a sign that clutter is ruining your life.

What are the Psychological Effects of Clutter?

There are many psychological effects of clutter. The most common are:

Mental Clutter

Mental clutter ruins your ability to focus. You find that it becomes hard to concentrate due to having too many thoughts that are popping up interrupting your focus.

We don’t even realize the physical clutter in our homes is on our mind. But it is. And it is affecting our ability to focus and be productive.

Anxiety and Depression

It is natural for the human brain to shut down when it becomes overwhelmed. This is exactly what clutter does to us it overwhelms us.

Have you ever looked at a pile of clutter and suddenly became overwhelmed with anxiety because you didn’t know where to start?

Clutter can cause depression and has also been proven to be a manifestation of mental health issues according to WebMD.

Clutter keeps you Living in the Past

One of the biggest effects of clutter is the fact that it causes you to live in the past and dwell on it. Maybe you are stuck in the past or know someone who is.

Think about it. Do you or someone you know constantly talk about things that happened in the past? Maybe these are good things and maybe they are painful things.

Either way dwelling on the past is an effect of clutter that keeps us from moving on and being successful or becoming the person God created us to be.

Take my mom for example. I love her dearly but she lives in the past. I literally cannot hold a conversation with her without something from the past being brought up.

Before I know it 10 minutes has passed and by this time she is either really angry or crying. Why? Because she dwells on the past.

But what does that have to do with clutter? A lot!

You see my mom likes to holds onto things. Broken things, old things, things don’t fit, and well pretty much anything that comes across her path.

She once owned 7 pairs of high heals that was not in her size. And did I mention my mom has never wore a pair of heals in her life.

Those high heels ended up being some past dwelling memory that haunted her until I finally talked her into getting rid of them. Of-course she has a lot more stuff to get rid of like her storage unit full of broken furniture. Which by the way is a psychological effect of the clutter she owns.

But what can I do accept encourage her. It is important that you understand if you are not the clutter bug yourself you cannot change someone who is.

You can however encourage them but be patient.

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Risking Hoarder Tenancies

There is a huge difference in having too much clutter and being a hoarder. However, an effect of clutter can very much lead to the risk of becoming a hoarder.

If you don’t get control of the clutter in the beginning stages it can quickly get out of control. Have you ever watch Hoarders on TLC?

The one thing I noticed from almost every episode was the fact that nearly every guest stated “I don’t know when or how it got like this.”

Let that sink in. Take a look at your surroundings. Are you risking hoarder tenancies?

Clutter Ruins Your Diet

I know what you are thinking how in the world does clutter ruin your diet? Right?

Believe it or not your diet and how you eat is an effect of clutter. If you have too much clutter in your kitchen you may find that it is easy to eat out than it is to stay home and cook.

Grocery shopping may be the last thing on your to do list and you just grab essentials and maybe some junk food that will give you easy access in the kitchen.

Another effect of clutter and your diet is the fact that it can cause you to over-eat. Or it can ruin your appetite all together leaving you malnutritious.

Respiratory and other Health issues

Respiratory and other health issues are effects of clutter. When clutter builds it attracts dust mites and other vermin.

Dust mites and vermin are microscopic bugs that eat dead skin. Gross I know! But it is true.

Sadly if you have allergies or asthma you are at a higher risk from the effects of clutter.

Clutter is a Hazard

Clutter can be dangerous; simply put. It is a hazard to your health and it is hazard to your safety.

Not only can it cause the risk of falling but it can also be a fire hazard.

I don’t want to imagine how fast a home can burn that is full of clutter. That is a really scary thought.

Effects of Clutter and Broken Relations

Clutter can have a huge impact on relationships. It can cause less intimacy with your spouse or it can interfere with your relationship with your children.

Clutter can cause mood swings which if you haven’t noticed can affect everyone in the household. All it takes is for one person to be in a bad mood and suddenly everyone is in a bad mood.

Effects of Clutter and Productivity

Clutter contributes to procrastination by distracting us from what is really important.

If you have a hard time meeting deadlines or have lack of motivation it could possibly be the effects of clutter. This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed immediately.

Bad Money Management is an Effect of Clutter

When clutter builds up such as paper clutter many tend to misplace bills and other important documents. This causes bad money management because you end up with surprise bills, late fees, and well a lower credit score.

A lower credit score means higher interest. I have been there and high interest sucks!

You may also find that you buy things you already own but can’t find. Which leads you to multiple items that are not being used.

Talk about a waste of money.

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Signs You Have Too Much Clutter

What is considered too much clutter? And how do you know when to start clearing it out?

Too much clutter can mean many different things to many different people. For me too much clutter is anything that is not being used. For others it can be piles.

Thankfully there are some signs you look for. Check out the signs below:

  • you don’t have enough storage area
  • you own more than one of everything or many things (example: curling irons, dvd players, games, shoes, jewelry, make – up, laptops, phones, tablets, purses, wallets, lamps, books, etc)
  • having friends and/or family over is embarrassing
  • you have more than one junk drawer (one junk drawer is bad enough but more than one is really bad)
  • you put things into piles when you clean (moving stuff around is not cleaning)
  • junk mail sitting in piles on your counter or in a basket
  • you can’t find your keys in the morning
  • you find that you sentimentally connected to everything
  • your allergies constantly have you sick

My final thoughts on the Effects of Clutter

Clutter is damaging to our lives. If I could change one thing in the world it would probably be clutter. I would snap my fingers and make it all disappear. That is how much I hate clutter.

What I hate more is what it does to people. It destroys folks lives and they don’t even realize it.

That is why blogs like this exist. To help others become aware of the dangers clutter has and the psychological effects of clutter.

Even if it takes you an entire month to clear the clutter from your home it will be worth it in the long run!

You will slowly notice changes like your productivity improving, your focus will get stronger, and you feel so much more in control and less overwhelmed by little things.

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Don’t let the psychological effects of clutter affect you!

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