Skip to content

How Clutter Affects Mental Health: The Psychology Behind It

How Clutter Affects Mental Health

Our mental health can be triggered by various things but ever thought about how clutter affects mental health?

Well, do you have dishes in the sink, mounds of dirty laundry piled up, closets in disorder, too much garbage in the garage, or an overwhelming number of unwanted things scattered about the house?

And are you getting little done because of living in clutter and the distractions it creates? Does it make you become annoyed when things aren’t in their right place?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to know why clutter is bad for you and how living in such conditions is unhealthy. There are many reasons why clutter affects mental health and your sense of well-being. Let’s take a closer look at why and how you need to declutter your life.

But before we get into the effects of living in an untidy house let’s learn more about the different types of clutter you may possess and how clutter affects your mental health.

5 Types of Clutter

1. Physical clutter

This is the most common type of clutter that most people have. It consists of piles in drawers, closets, etc. It could be a home that has unnecessary items like showpieces that are hoarding up the space. It could be a work desk with piles of files, unnecessary stationery that might not be even useful anymore.

The reasons we allow clutter to fester and grow is because of our perceived lack of time, not having a designated place to store them, or because we can’t let go of it. However, physical clutter affects mental health severely and we tend to become erratic or hoarders when dealing with such situations.

2. Digital clutter

While reading this article, do you have thousands of unread emails in your inbox or 10-15 browser tabs open in the background? Then you are dealing with digital clutter.

Digital clutter, in layman’s terms, is the disorganization of data, files, and digital gadgets. It can take various forms, such as phone storage that is full, or hundreds of emails or files on the desktop. Digital clutter not only slows down gadgets, but it can also slow you down. This kind of mess can easily make you feel overwhelmed and stress you out.

3. Mental clutter

Like physical clutter is something that makes our home untidy and overwhelmingly messed up, mental clutter is something that makes our minds full or makes certain things more difficult, especially when we deal with it every day. 

A cluttered brain can make it harder to focus on one thing at a time because the brain is stretched in so many different directions. This can even affect sleep.

Related: 5 Tips That Can Help You In Freeing Up Your Mental Space

4. Emotional clutter

We all experience or feel emotions that we don’t always manage well. These feelings have a variety of effects on our life. It can manifest in terms of negative patterns and beliefs we don’t even realize we’re carrying around.

It can include resentment, anger, insecurities, guilt, or shame. Emotional clutter affects mental health of individuals as the mind is preoccupied with things in the past and it leads one to become depressed or anxious.

5. Spiritual clutter

Spiritual clutter includes the thoughts and ideas that take up most of our time and energy. It could be a lack of peace or not being able to forgive. These negative thoughts about ourselves and others or worries over things we cannot change is a kind of clutter that affects our mental well-being and reduces our ability to focus on more important things in life.

What does clutter do to your brain and body?

Clutter is detrimental to mental and physical health. It may appear that overflowing cupboards and stacks of paper placed throughout the house seem harmless. So, how does clutter affect the brain function or mental wellness?

According to research, being disorganized or having clutter has a cumulative effect on our brains. Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disarray deplete our cognitive resources, limiting our ability to focus. That’s why feeling cluttered is a sign of cognitive overload and it can reduce the focus of working memory.

6 Psychological Effects of Clutter on Your Mental Health

How Clutter Affects Mental Health info
How Clutter Affects Mental Health: The Psychology Behind It

Have you ever considered the psychological reasons for clutter or factors that contribute to it? It appears that there is a scientific explanation for the unpleasant emotions we experience when surrounded by clutter, as well as feelings of satisfaction and calm we experience after decluttering our space.

But before we get into this, let’s take a look at how clutter and mental health go hand in hand.

1. Increased stress rate

Clutter affects mental health in many negative ways, one of which is making us feel more stressed. According to studies, people who live in cluttered spaces or describe their home as messy have greater levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. It’s difficult to relax when our home is a place we don’t like going to because of the mess.

Pages: 1 2 3

Daisy Simon

I enjoy reading and learning about new things in life. I found writing helpful when I began to explore about various topics on WordPress. My interests also lie with movies, lifestyle, and health.View Author posts