Is your house cluttered? Here’s how it can affect your mental health

It may sound pointless, but a cluttered space can really wreak havoc on your mental health. No, we aren’t kidding. Read on to find out.
clean room
Declutter your surroundings to uplift your mood. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Published: 31 May 2021, 13:55 pm IST
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It is a good sign that conversations about mental health are growing by the day. Even then, we want answers to several questions. For instance, what is it that affects your state of mind? Is it work stress or tension at home? There could be multiple factors, but there’s one that’s largely ignored—yes, it’s related to the clutter in your house. You might raise your eyebrows in surprise (or maybe shock), but this is true in every way. Haven’t we heard some people say that cleaning up their house makes them feel relaxed? Now, you know why! 

Of course, no house can be completely free of disorder. But if it gets out of hand, it can cause several issues. You might lose focus or see your productivity go down. In several cases, it could also make you feel unhappy in ways you can’t even explain. Not many people admit to the fact that clutter is a big factor that influences mental health. That’s because it leads to unexplained anxiety that can also be debilitating at times. 

So, let’s understand the negative impact of clutter in detail. 

Why does clutter affect us?

To begin with, clutter may also contribute to depression, and there are studies to prove this. For instance, a paper published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who lived in cluttered spaces were more depressed than those who stayed in restful homes. That’s not all, the former group of women also suffered from high levels of cortisol. 

There’s another study by Princeton University that discovered that clutter can reduce focus in people. That’s because clutter is linked to negative emotions, including confusion, tension and irritability. By reducing clutter, you can observe a drastic difference. That’s because it gives you a sense of control, and that’s important for sure. 

cluttered house
A clean space can help you reduce your anxiety. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Benefits of decluttering your spaces

There are several reasons why you must make an effort to de-clutter your spaces. To begin with, it doesn’t just help with your mental health but also physical health. According to a study conducted by Nicole Keith, a research scientist and professor at Indiana University, those who have clean houses are far healthier than those with messy homes. 

Decluttering also makes you feel that you have some control over your life. This is particularly helpful when you think everything else is uncertain in your life. There’s a study by the University of Connecticut that found that in times of extreme stress, people leaned on cleaning, because it gave them a sense of control. 

As mentioned above, cleaning and organising your spaces can also help you enhance your focus, so the distraction is minimal.

Not to forget that a clean home can help reduce your anxiety. For instance, a study published in the journal, Mindfulness, found that people who were mindful when washing dishes—reported a 27% percent reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in “mental inspiration.

What’s more, changing your bed sheets regularly and making your bed also ensures you get more rest. And as we know, more rest means a better mood.

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cluttered house
A tidy house is that being able to easily locate things will cause you less stress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How can you make decluttering a part of your life?

It’s all about taking small steps to make a huge difference. So instead of trying everything out together and overwhelming yourself, do things one at a time: 

  1. Allocate a time for when you want to clean your spaces. It could be every single day after work or maybe every alternate day. You can play your favourite music while you do that, so that the cleaning becomes more enjoyable. 
  2. Visualise how your spaces will look neat and clutter-free. You will feel good in an instant, and it will help you organise your spaces better. 
  3. Divide the cleaning into parts. It isn’t possible to do everything in a day, so be slow and steady in your approach. 
  4. Ask your friends or family for some help. 
  5. Discard things that are of no use. You could even donate your belongings to an NGO.
  6. Remember decluttering is not a one-off thing, it needs to be a part of your routine. 

So ladies, now that you know the importance of decluttering, keep this in mind and stay happier! 

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About the Author

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town. ...Read More

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