Clutter on kitchen shelves - plants, candies, a clock, and a tea set

How Clutter Affects Mental Health

Many people think that the more things they have, the happier they will be. The reality is usually very different, and clutter can actually increase stress levels in our lives. It’s hard to let go of things that you have an emotional attachment to. So, we tend to hold onto memories even though our homes can quickly become messy, uncomfortable, and unsafe. Some can even develop a fear of getting rid of their belongings. That’s because material things can be deeply infused into our emotions. We store them because we strongly hope they will become useful again but that day usually never comes. Getting rid of things is liberating. Furthermore, it can significantly improve our mental and emotional well-being. Let’s see how clutter affects mental health and what we can do about it.

It disrupts your everyday life, including your social life.

It’s challenging to live in a house full of clutter because you don’t have enough available space to do things that you’d enjoy. Clutter may occupy the areas you would otherwise use as a space for meditation, practicing yoga, crafting, etc.

If your home is constantly messy, you’re probably embarrassed to invite guests over. Consequently, this can negatively impact your social life, and in the long run, you may start to feel lonely, isolated, and sad.

A woman sitting and meditating

Your home environment can become your enemy and the cause of injuries.

Your home should be your retreat from the outside world and a place where you feel safe and relaxed. Having too many things in a small space can lead to many injuries, such as those caused by tripping, falling over things, toppling something over, etc. So, your home can easily become your enemy, and a hazardous environment will make you feel distressed.

You can lose self-control and develop unhealthy eating habits.

Clutter affects mental health in many different ways. Some studies showed that people are likely to eat more in a chaotic environment when compared to eating in a tidy kitchen. We are prone to compulsive overeating when we feel stressed, especially if we spend a lot of time in disorganized and messy areas.

People have more self-control in tidy and clean, non-chaotic spaces. In other words, we’re more likely to feel out of control in a cluttered setting, so we’ll probably eat more sweets, snacks, and other unhealthy foods, even when we are full.

A cluttered workspace can decrease focus and productivity.

A comfortable working environment is crucial for our focus and productivity. Our workplace surroundings can significantly affect how much energy and enthusiasm we have toward specific job tasks. Successful companies know that employees’ concentration, productivity, and satisfaction directly correlate with the office setting. Also, those who work from home should be aware of it. A cluttered inbox or desktop can also increase our stress levels, so we should opt to keep them organized too. Tidy spaces can increase motivation and encourage us to think more efficiently and clearly.

A laptop on a brown wooden table next to a big plant

Your home is an extension of your personality, so keep it in order.

When you’re nervous, overwhelmed, or unhappy, your living space can naturally reflect those feelings. You may convince yourself that you don’t have to keep your home in order because you lack time for regular maintenance or money to pay for professional cleaning. As a result, clutter will inevitably impact your health and happiness. A cluttered living environment can result in feelings of low self-worth. You won’t feel energized, and you won’t be able to get enough quality sleep. You may have difficulty concentrating, and you may start procrastinating with everyday tasks.

On the other hand, tidying up and throwing things away without any procrastination can do wonders for your mental health, which will reflect a positive mindset. What you surround yourself with reinforces your thoughts, so try to avoid chaotic, dysfunctional spaces and regularly clean your clutter.

Clutter can negatively impact kids as well.

Clutter affects mental health more than we are aware of, and kids are also affected. A chaotic, crowded environment is bad for children and their well-being. A messy home can undermine children’s ability to relax and regulate their emotions and behavior. Cluttered environments make both adults and kids feel defeated and unmotivated. So, you should opt to make your child’s space clutter-free if you want them to feel good and have good behavior. Keeping your kids’ rooms tidy and clean will make them happy and promote good habits from their early childhood. Depending on your kid’s age, you can declutter their room together. Play their favorite music and make the whole process fun and enjoyable.

Teach your kids that material things such as clothes and toys are easily replaceable. Even if they make emotional attachments to some of them, they should know that they will have to get rid of them one day, whether by giving them to someone who actually needs them or simply throwing them away to make space for new ones that will be useful.

Kids room full of toys and boxes

Benefits of decluttering 

There are many important reasons why you should make an effort and declutter your space, such as:

  • It can improve your mental health and physical health.
  • Decluttering can make you feel like you have a better sense of control over your life, so you’ll have higher self-esteem. 
  • Cleaning and organizing can help you remove mental distractions and enhance your focus. 
  • A tidy home can help reduce anxiety and depression.
  • If your home environment is clean, you will be able to sleep and rest better. A better rest usually means a better mood as well.
  • Clean spaces allow us to think more efficiently. You may have better inspiration and motivation for different areas of your life.

Final thoughts

Now that you know how clutter affects mental health make sure to get your environment in check. Your surroundings reflect a lot of energy, and you absorb it, even if it’s unconsciously. So, if you want to feel better and have positive thoughts and feelings, try to eliminate the unnecessary clutter from your home and office, as well as from your mind. Good luck in the process!