Can Clutter Lead To Mental Health Issues?
Whether you have a severe underlying anxiety issue or are just having a rough couple of days, odds are, all of the “stuff” laying around your home isn’t helping. Anxiety and clutter often go hand in hand. While we aren’t suggesting that clutter in itself can cause anxiety and that removing clutter is the cure for a medically diagnosed anxiety disorder, recent research has shown a perceivable link between a tidy home and lessened symptoms of anxiety.
Clutter can play a significant part in how we feel about our homes, our work environments, and ourselves. A cluttered house or work area leaves us feeling distressed, helpless, and overwhelmed.
Why does clutter cause so much stress?
- Clutter has a way of bombarding our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), triggering our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus needs to be on.
- Clutter makes it harder to unwind, both physically and psychologically.
- Clutter continuously indicates to our brains that work isn’t done.
- Clutter makes us nervous because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
- Clutter produces feelings of regret (“I need to be more organized”) and embarrassment, specifically when others suddenly drop by unplanned.
- Clutter frustrates us by not allowing us to find what we need quickly.
Fortunately, unlike other more frequently recognized sources of tension (e.g., our jobs, our relationships), this issue is one of the most convenient life stressors to fix. Here are a few concepts:
Tip #1: Let technology take the edge off.
Recent advancements in robot vacuums make keeping your floors clean much easier than ever before. Some models of robot vacuums, like the Roomba 960 or 980 intelligently navigate your home (even if there’s things lying around on the floor!) and will clean your house on a consistent schedule, so you don’t have to think about it.
Tip #2: Tackle de-cluttering as a family.
If clutter is taking over your home, don’t feel like you have to tackle the problem all by yourself. Get the whole family involved and assign out areas for each person to be responsible for. Hold each other accountable and set a schedule and stick to it.
Tip #3: Have an area dedicated to items that are frequently used.
If you’re really sensitive to the effects of a cluttered home, this should be an enclosed area such as a drawer. Keep things like your keys, wallet, gym notebook, phone, and other items you use on a daily or weekly basis. If you have a designated area for these things, you’re less likely to leave them laying around.
Tip #4: If you don’t use it, let it go.
Unless you’re holding onto something for sentimental value, if you don’t get use out of a product, don’t be afraid to throw it away. Many people keep everything “just in case,” but then end up with a home full of items they never actually use. Eliminating this problem before it causes clutter can help lessen your anxiety and keep your home clutter-free.
Tip #5: If you take it out, put it back.
This is a great tip for keeping your home clutter free without really trying. Simply get into the habit of returning things to their rightful spot once you’re done with them. Get the whole family on board with this, and you’ll see an immediate improvement in the amount of clutter that accumulates in your home.
It has been proven that there is a link between clutter and an increased level of anxiety and depression. While it isn’t the primary cause and isn’t the main fix, clearing your home of clutter can help improve your mental health, and make you happier and more productive.
Who is the author?
Julie Adams is a full time content writer and entrepreneur. She is passionate about learning about new topics, traveling, and making new connections along the way. Her background is in online marketing and web development and she has been building and promoting websites since 2012
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