Messy closets, disorganized garages, and messy bedrooms are found in many homes but can clutter be bad for your health? The simple answer is yes, but specifically when clutter becomes unhealthy, changes from person to person. Clutter becomes unhealthy when it starts to negatively effect emotional health, which can lead to health issues caused by stress and anxiety.
Stress, Anxiety, & Clutter:
Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. on why messy environments lead to stress:
"Why does mess lead to so much stress?
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't necessary or important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter makes us anxious because we're never sure what it's going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt ("I should be more organized") and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
- Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the "pile" or keys swallowed up by the clutter)." (Psychology Today)
People who experience anxiousness around clutter can never truly relax when they are around clutter because seeing the clutter triggers stress automatically. Sometimes people who are anxious about clutter do not even have to see the clutter for it to cause stress, just thinking about the clutter causes them stress and anxiety.
Additional Causes of Stress by Clutter
- Financial Strain: The objects that create clutter have to be obtained some how and often they are acquired through buying new things that serve no purpose. It’s very easy to find stuff that we think we need or really want and the cost of these items quickly starts to add up when we buy them. Shopping can become a compulsion if you do not stop and ask why you are purchasing something and address possible psychological issues if you feel like they exist.
- Lost Time: Most of us have extremely busy lives and being able to find things in a timely manner is important. The more disorganized a home or business is, the more likely you’ll have to spend time searching for money, shoes, wallets, etc. and in a lot of cases, clutter also leads to not being able to find bills, credit cards, keys, and more. If your stuff is hidden amongst the clutter, the time you spend looking for these things daily can begin to add up, adding stress to your life.
Address Our Mess has cleanup teams that will work with you to sort through, organize, and dispose of your unwanted belongings. We’ll restore your home back to a point where it’s no longer draining your energy, money, and time.