Clutter: The Case Against
Clutter: The Case Against
Do you look around your home and wonder how it got so full of stuff? Is your office buried in paper? Maybe your inbox is overflowing?
Clutter, either physical or mental, can interrupt your flow and productivity, your ability to move and your ability to think.
Research is increasingly showing that your well-being could become victim to the ‘clutter effect’. Unsurprisingly, a number of studies on wellbeing speak to the value of streamlining.
When we think of clutter, we often think about the homes of hoarders. But clutter is simply the accumulation of more possessions that can fit into a space. If you have a lifetime of stuff and live in a huge residence, all may fit in comfortably. But it’s a different matter if the same level of memorabilia is kept in an average sized house.
In a 2016 study, Catherine Roster et al (University of New Mexico) found that even living with mild clutter had a negative impact on individuals well-being and sense of self. They concluded: ‘…when clutter becomes excessive, it can threaten to physically and psychologically entrap a person in environments which contribute to personal distress’
Getting rid of clutter, with or without help from a Professional Organiser, is shown to be important to feelings of happiness. Here are three reasons to start streamlining now:
1. Low subjective well-being
Our home should be a retreat from the outside world, but living in clutter can impede this positive identification. Having too much stuff in too small a space can lead to feelings of alienation, where the home becomes our enemy, rather than our friend.
2. Unhealthy eating
An Australian study by Vartarian (2017) showed that people feel more stressed and will eat more unhealthy snacks if the environment they are in is chaotic. This is because disorganised environments were found to be linked to low self control mindsets.
3. Less efficient thinking
Lynn Hasher (University of Toronto 2016) proposes that mental clutter is one of the prime reasons in the cause of age related memory loss. If you are unable to get through the material clogging up your neural networks, you’ll be slower and less efficient in processing information.
4. Poorer mental health
In examining all of the available research on stress and well-being,Bliese et al (2017), noted that a comfortable environment was essential to mental hygiene. The case was made as much for a clutter free workplace as for a clutter free home.
Banishing clutter has many advantages, not just as a housekeeping tool, but as a key process for maintaining wellbeing at home and at work.
Start the process now and you will not only better enjoy your surroundings but be able to move and think more efficiently too.