Can a dis-organised home really affect our physical and mental health and will decluttering our homes and offices positively impact our well being?

Most of us can appreciate that feeling of sheer satisfaction, when we’ve had a good clear out. However, does having an organised, and decluttered home do more than that? Does it affect our physical and mental being?

Many of us strive for an organised and decluttered home and recently we have had the chance to tackle the ever-evolving problem of too much “stuff.” Just one charity alone has reported a 38% increase in donations as many of us have started the decluttering process.

Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep and ability to focus. It can also reduce our self-esteem and lead to a poor diet, often resulting in days in front of the TV. When we aren’t in a good place mentally, we are more likely to reach for those sugary snacks.

Your physical environment, both home & work, can influence performance, wellbeing, relationships, and our emotions.

If surrounded with an overwhelming amount of paperwork, laundry, or perhaps a bedroom with piles of clothes on the floor, it can create this mental silence, which can have a cumulative effect on our brains. It can be almost like a visual noise, overloading our senses, cognitive abilities, sleep and anxiety levels, giving us a feeling of “mental fog”. Ultimately, reducing our ability to focus.   

Studies have shown, that cortisol (the stress hormone), levels are higher in people who have a cluttered home, leaving our bodies constantly at a low ebb, which is taxing on both body and mind.

When we start our day stressed, with increased levels of cortisol, before even leaving the house, it is likely that those levels will remain high throughout the day. Returning home to the same overload, means the cycle continues.

‘Procrastination is closely tied to clutter, because sorting through and re-homing items is a task that many people find unpleasant and avoid. We also get attached to things we own, sometimes irrationally. I had both of these problems when I went through the process of trying to declutter the loft with my husband.

Is Hoarding the Same as Clutter?

Many people with mental health disorders or who have suffered some kind of trauma in life, particularly the loss of a loved one, will often find emotional pain relief through constant retail therapy, collecting or just simply retaining anything and everything.

Sometimes, it can be just too painful to let things go. This is what we call ‘Hoarding Disorder’ and is actually a recognised illness.

But, is clutter always bad? There 2 sayings that I often hear:

Often those who have messy desks, or surroundings can be more creative, break away from the norm, yet those who have tidy surroundings have tendencies towards conforming to expectations and playing it safe.

I have a friend whose paperwork is a mountain, but bills never go unpaid and she can identify and find one item of clothing in a pile of many. I shared a house with her, in my twenties, and it drove me nuts but she is still one of my favourite people in the world. She is, in fact, the most whacky, creative person I know.

These are 2 completely different schools of thought and I know which one I adhere to! What about you though, do you think a tidy desk is a wasted life?