Is clutter a negative thing or a personality thing?

Clutter can be responsible for the stress you've been feeling.

I recently read that clutter can affect our mental health in a negative way, but only if the clutter is an issue for you. That might be good news for some of you.

Clutter, however, is definitely an issue for me. I do not possess the personality qualities that see past clutter, or that aren’t troubled by it. I feel tense around clutter in my own home or anyone else’s home. Even if a person’s clutter is clean and “organized”, too much stuff in a room makes me uncomfortable. It’s what I call furniture clutter.

brown fabric sofa chair beside brown bookcase

Most of my friends are similar to me in that they don’t have clutter and their homes are organized. But I have a couple of friends who are the opposite and unbothered by mess or clutter it seems. Even when company comes over. Can you imagine? I’m one of those nuts who cleans their house to the point it almost appears unlived-in when company is coming over. My kids can tell you I get a little insane preparing for company.

Then there is the issue of paper clutter. Paper waiting in piles for attention also makes me crazy. Now imagine that my husband is one of those “pile makers”, as I call him. Can you feel my pain?

office table with pile of papers

The opposite of me, he’s a procrastinator, so anywhere he finds an empty surface, he’ll lay something down to-get-to-later. Only for him, later usually means never. Or really, when I can’t take it anymore and I gather all the piles into one big pile and lay it on his side of the bed with a note to please go through it. To his credit, at that point, he usually does.

Clutter is stressful for a lot of us, and as we know, it can affect your body, mind, and emotions. And when stress is left to run amok, it can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and an unhappy wife. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t exactly a health issue, but it could become one, right?

Basically, if clutter bothers you, your body will respond negatively. If not, lucky you. But if you are among us clutter-haters, pay attention. Clutter might be the cause of your current stress-eating, mindless snacking, snapping at others, and so much more.

man covering face with both hands while sitting on bench

If your blood pressure rises when you open a drawer or closet and are faced with a mess, take notice. You might be a clutter-hater. If you are a creative type, or you work from home and have trouble concentrating or creating, take a look around you. Is clutter the culprit?

Research has shown that “disorganization and clutter have a cumulative affect on our brains. Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus”. And “the visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory”. Yikes.

Who among you knows that almost-euphoric (Okay, slight exaggeration) feeling after cleaning out a drawer? Or a closet, or an entire room from top to bottom. I’m breathless just thinking about it.

So while not everyone is uptight about disorganization, or too many items in a room, or clutter, the point is that we all take a minute to listen to our bodies and their response to a disorganized setting. It might be what’s causing your stress and the symptoms that follow. If so, what an easy fix!

Thanks for visiting my blog and happy reading!

Inspirational quote:

“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.” – Prasad Mahes

Book Recommendation/suggestion:

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo.

Zero-Clutter Home: Minimalist’s Strategies to Simplify Your Life, Organize Your Home Room by Room, Declutter Your Mind, and Create a Focused and Meaningful Life (Live More with Less)” by Lilly Nolan.

*Images provided by Unsplash

Share this post: