How Clutter Happens
We buy things for a lot of reasons… we collect things for a lot more reasons.
- for sentimental value
- because you paid a lot of money for it
- someone you loved very much gave it to you and you feel obligated to keep the item.
- We even hold on to family members stuff or friends stuff for them
- as nostalgia of things from our past
- we buy lots of unused appliances
- never used office supplies
- untouched tools that fill garages
- incomplete projects and their stuff
- large amounts of food and prepper items for an emergency that most times never happens
But in reality you probably made a mistake in buying those things and it literally hurts your brain to come to terms with that fact.
When it comes to physical things, merely touching an item can cause you to become more emotionally attached to it.
When you introduce new items into your life, you immediately associate value with these items, making it hard for you to give them up in the future. This psychological connection to things is what leads to the accumulation of stuff.
THE LINK BETWEEN CLUTTER AND DEPRESSION
Tons of dishes in the sink, toys all over the house, stuff covering every flat surface; this clutter not only makes our homes look bad, it makes us feel bad, too. Clutter has a profound affect on our mood and self-esteem.
A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects.The more stuff, the more stress women feel. Men, on the other hand, don’t seem to bothered by clutter. More tension develops when you have a tidy wife and a messy husband. Women associate a tidy home with a happy and successful family. Dishes piled up in the sink, lots of clothes piled up in the laundry room makes women feel anxious.
Families that try to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralyzed when it comes to throwing away objects. They have sentimental attachment to an item or they feel they need to keep it incase they will need it one day.
Clutter and Your Health
A study performed at Princeton University found that clutter really does affect us. Here is a short article on their findings.
Professional organizers who are called to cluttered homes and offices say their clients use the same words, over and over, to describe their reaction to the mess: their energy is drained, they can’t find things, and it’s beginning to interfere with crucial parts of life — such as getting to work on time or navigating staircases.
Lots of people express that they are overwhelmed. They become nonfunctional and unproductive. They become desperate for answers.
Clutter is bad for your physical and mental health.
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, 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 constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt 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, brain storm, and problem solve.
- Clutter causes you to gain weight. Peter Walsh in his book states clutter will make us gain weight.
- Too much clutter can be a fire hazard.
- Dust, mold, and animal dander that collect in cluttered homes are all bad for allergies and asthma
- Excessive clutter will cause rodents and bugs to take up residence in your home.
- Bed bugs and roaches will be next to impossible to get rid of as long as you have clutter everywhere.
Having clutter in our homes is really becoming a problem for the normal American family with our limited time at home because of both parents working and with all the after school activities of the children there is little time to do more than load the dishwasher and load and dry the laundry. Time to clean is much less than what it used to be, and as a result things that normally get tossed tend to lay around then get thrown into a junk drawer or the closet down the hall or out in the garage. We don’t have time to clean out closets of clothes that are to big or small so they just stay in the closet until there is no more room then it gets sent to the treadmill or exercise bike in the corner where it stays.
Dealing With Clutter
I am just like you. I have had a treadmill full of things I kept saying I needed to take to the local thrift store but it was not a priority so it didn’t get done. There has to be a system to the stop the madness!! Well, I think I might have found it!
I started a series of post I was going to do back in January, boy did it take an abrupt halt! My reaction was,”Where do I start?” I sat and put together a list of things (I shared it with you here) I wanted to do in each room. I never expected life to happen, yea right!
I got off to a great start had the bathroom cabinets cleaned out in record time. I threw away two full large garbage bags of old, soap, old shampoos, old razors, empty bottles saved so I would remember to buy the product again, which I never did. It seemed like 50 brushes, old tooth brushes, old finger nail brushes. Around 50 nail polishes, I no longer use nail polish because of the chemicals in the polish that are bad for you. I’ll share in another blog post about the dangers of nail polish later. Oh, my daughters favorite, 1,000’s of dumped out Q-tips and pony tail holders. I saw why she never had a pony tail holder, they were hidden behind all the towels!
I’m starting my goal of cleaning things out of my house again, but this time I have a much better plan. A plan that can continue on working because it goes to the root of why the clutter is there in the first place. I’m not going it alone I am getting my family involved and we are all going to work on our game plan together.
If you are looking for a few ideas to help you with your home my friend Shelly has a great blog post with a list of ideas to help tame the clutter in your home. I am using a few of them myself be sure to check it out.