A Cluttered, Messy Home Can Lead to Stress and Anxiety
In fact, psychologists say that it is a definite trigger of stress and anxiety even though this is not generally realized.
Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter explains:
“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.”
What is it about clutter that it can act as a trigger?
Sherrie tells us there are 8 reasons:
- Clutter serves as excessive visual, olfactory and tactile stimuli. It makes sure your senses work overtime causing them to focus on the clutter instead of other important tasks.
- Clutter can be a distraction, taking your minds away from what you may be trying to focus on.
- When you see mess everywhere, it makes it more difficult for you to relax mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Clutter signals to your brains that your work is not finished, preventing rest and relaxation.
- Anxiety can set in when viewing clutter as you are never sure how much effort it will take to eventually get it all cleaned up.
- Clutter can make you feel guilty for not being “more organized,” and also embarrassed, especially when someone pays you an unexpected visit at home – or even at work.
- Clutter prevents your creativity and productivity by draining valuable energy and focus away from your quiet times of reflection and problem solving.
- A sense of frustration can set in when you are unable to find items that are needed quickly – due to the mess.
Clutter and mess may sometimes seem insurmountable – and the habit of hoarding can (in some cases) be a mental health problem.
We share some suggestions on how to fix that clutter and mess…
Family and friends!
You can try enlisting the help of family and friends! Bribing might be necessary. In the case of family members who live at home, choose a room that everyone uses and assign each person one area of the room to de-clutter. Once this first room is tidied up, move on to the next room, and enjoy a sense of accomplishment after each room becomes organized.
Ensure there are special places for frequently used items
Such places can include drawers and cabinets, allowing you to know where these important daily items are so they can be found more quickly and helping to eliminate the stress of searching.
Sell, recycle or donate
Place large cardboard boxes with signs indicated sell, recycle or donate. Keeping things that you don’t need or use in visible sight will only add to stress levels. And once they are full, ensure they leave the home to their appropriate destination.
Learn to put things back after using them
Encourage family members (and yourself) to develop the habit of always putting things back into their designated spaces immediately after having finished using them. This is a very effective method for keeping a home free from stressful clutter.
Make a pending folder
This provides a place to put all of the papers and documents of projects that you’re working on, freeing up and clearing space on desks, table and work surfaces.
Don’t let papers pile up
Get into the habit of cleaning up and organizing any heaps of papers lying around – and we are all guilty of this! This includes mail, flyers, homework, newspapers and more. Go through everything as soon as you can, and organize them appropriately.
One for you!
Tidy up your own work space before you get up to go, leaving you feeling accomplished and satisfied after a good day’s work. And the good feeling should return when you come back to a clean work space at the start of the next working day.
Play some music!
Make de-cluttering fun by listening to your favorite music while getting things in order, lifting your spirits and making the time pass more quickly.