How Excessive Clutter Affects Your Mental Health
Clutter has a more substantial impact on your life than just being an unsightly mess. It can result in some significant problems.
If you’re like most people, your home is where you feel the most comfortable and at ease. It’s a place you can relax and enjoy yourself after a long day. However, when your home becomes cluttered and disorganized, it can affect your mental health in several ways.
Your quality of life depends greatly on the state of your home. When you organize your stuff, it’s easier to access. But when you accumulate too much stuff without any order or direction, your life quickly becomes chaotic.
So, how exactly does clutter affect you? We’re here to tell you all you need to know.
Let’s talk about clutter, the problems it can cause you, and what you can do about it.
What Is Clutter?
Clutter is an excessive accumulation of objects, typically in a very disorganized fashion. Clutter can take many forms.
It could be something simple, like a stash of laundry in your dryer that you never put away. Or maybe you have a pile of mail on your kitchen table that you never seem to get through.
Your clutter may also grow and become more complex. Things can spiral out of control if you don’t have a system for organizing your belongings.
Everywhere you look, things are in disarray.
You make one wrong move, and your stack of belongings comes crashing down.
Occasional clutter is normal when you lead a busy life. But too much of it for too long may indicate a more serious issue.
Although clutter doesn’t always lead to a full-blown hoarding disorder, letting a mess pile up in your home can still hurt your mental health.
In addition, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or another mental health problem such as anxiety, decluttering may help alleviate these feelings by giving you a sense of control over your life.
The Psychology of Clutter and Disorganization
Clutter is a form of disorganization. It’s normal to be a little disorganized now and then. Sometimes you may not know what to do with something right away, so you put it down and forget about it. Other times, you might be exhausted and not up to the task.
Decision-making fatigue and the stress associated with it can contribute to clutter. You can run out of energy for thinking after working all day or taking care of your family. You make so many little choices throughout the day without even realizing it!
What you should wear, what you should eat, and what you should listen to during your car ride home may not seem like big decisions. But they add up!
After thinking and deciding all day, you may not have room to figure out what to do with that out-of-place pile of magazines. You don’t want to get rid of them, either. So, you let them sit in a chaotic state until inspiration strikes.
The problem is that it’s super easy to get used to stuff existing where it doesn’t belong. You may develop “clutter blindness” if you don’t deal with your pile within a reasonable amount of time.
You get so accustomed to your clutter that you accept it as part of the house.
But just because you’ve gotten used to it doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you.
Clutter causes brain fog. Getting organized can be overwhelming because it may require deciding what to keep and what should go in the trash or recycling bin.
The longer you wait to clean up that clutter, the harder it will be for you to decide what to do with it. Then you’re on a slippery slope of psychological issues.
Impact of Clutter on Mental Health
The effects of clutter on mental health are numerous. You may not think a little clutter is a big deal. But the truth is, it is a sneaky offender that can take hold of your life without you even realizing it. The way clutter can influence your well-being knows no bounds.
Here are just some of the ways that clutter can affect your mental health:
Anxiety. Clutter can cause you loads of stress. When you’re looking desperately for something you can’t find, your ability to function suffers. The frustration of having your stuff fall over every time you reach for something can get under your skin.
Depression. When your home is full of clutter, it may also trigger intense feelings of shame and guilt. Nobody enjoys it when they are seen in a negative light. You may even isolate yourself from others to avoid judgment.
Relationships. Isolating from others to save yourself from embarrassment can hurt your relationships. But people may also be stressed or uncomfortable in your cluttered home if you do decide to let them in. They may choose to keep themselves at a distance.
Health. If there are also unsanitary conditions in addition to the clutter, you might experience health issues. These can range from allergies to serious illnesses if you accumulate dirt, dust, or mold. It can even impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Money. Financial issues may plague you if the clutter causes your belongings to break. In extreme cases, it may also contribute to structural damage to your home. The damage may require costly repairs that you cannot sustain.
Is there a connection between hoarding and clutter?
Hoarders may have clutter alongside their excessive accumulation, but there is much more going on than a few unorganized knick-knacks.
It doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a hoarder if they don’t organize their belongings.
But clutter can be an early sign of hoarding. You need to know what else to look out for.
Hoarding is a type of mental health issue that can affect people of all ages. It’s often linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Hoarding is not just clutter; it’s a complex disorder that involves difficulty discarding things and distress related to possessions, which tend to accumulate until they fill up living spaces and interfere with daily life.
A person may be unable for any reason (such as physical or mental impairment) to discard unusable items, leading them to accumulate in large quantities over time.
Obsessions and compulsions are the two dominant symptoms of OCD, a type of anxiety disorder.
That means that a person has persistent thoughts that cause anxiety or distress but don’t make sense rationally—obsessions—and tries unsuccessfully over time to get rid of these thoughts through repetitive behaviors called compulsions.
Why Do People Have Clutter?
It’s a question many of us ask ourselves, and the answer is complex. Many factors can contribute to clutter, including lack of time, motivation, and energy.
- Some people have poor organizational skills naturally. They may even struggle with a lack of space to put things or the money to get proper storage solutions.
- Low-self esteem may cause some people to struggle to see the point in taking care of themselves. So, they lose the desire to keep their space tidy.
- Depression makes it hard to complete our regular daily tasks. The severe lack of motivation may cause clutter to build up before you realize the problem.
- Anxiety also contributes to clutter. The stress levels you feel when struggling with anxiety can make it incredibly difficult to make healthy decisions about your things.
- Attention-deficit disorders also impact someone’s ability to get things done in sequential order. Several unfinished tasks in a row can result in overwhelming clutter.
However, if you find that your home is more cluttered than it should be despite your best efforts at keeping things neat, it may be time to look at what else may be going on in your life that could be contributing to this problem.
Excessive clutter can often act as an outward expression of underlying stressors, like anxiety or depression. It also increases feelings like guilt over being unable to keep up with housework, which further compounds stress levels for those affected by them!
When to consider professional intervention
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to consider professional intervention:
- You can’t find the things you need.
- You are having trouble sleeping or relaxing.
- You spend too much time trying to clean and organize.
- You are having trouble focusing on work or other tasks in your life.
- The clutter overwhelms you and makes it difficult for you to function normally in many areas of your life, including at home, at work, and socially with friends, family members, and others in your community.
To sum up, clutter is not just about aesthetics. It can affect your mental health and well-being in many ways. Clutter affects people from all walks of life. Everyone deals with it, from those with obsessive-compulsive disorder to those who suffer from depression or anxiety.
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A healthy person with a small living space or a jam-packed schedule can also have difficulties leading a clutter-free lifestyle.
If you think you may have too much stuff in your home or office space, consider hiring a professional clutter cleaner who can help you get organized!
We strive to make reclaiming your life from clutter as stress-free as possible.
Give us a call, and ask about our clutter cleaning services! 718 627 5781
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