I can think of many good reasons to declutter your home. A calmer environment, easier cleaning, and less feelings of overwhelm are all benefits of living with less. But did you know there’s another, more pressing reason for clearing your space? I’m going to talk today about how clutter affects your health. You might think that clutter is something that you can block out with some TV and a glass of wine (I did that for years!), but the fact is, it affects you more than you realise.
Clutter and Mental Health
Clutter really does affect our brains – it’s scientifically proven.
Too many things piled up everywhere, e.g. an overly cluttered room, actually affects our ability to think, make decisions and process information. That’s right – clutter actually makes us less intelligent!
Another study on the mental impact of clutter showed that children in heavily decorated classrooms (which is normal in most infant and junior schools), were less able to focus and retained less information that children in plain classrooms.
Clutter elevates stress levels – especially for mothers. Women with cluttered houses have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who describe their houses as tidy.[3,4]
Depression is significantly elevated in people with severe hoarding problems. It makes sense that even lower levels of clutter and mess, given their proven negative effect on stress levels and anxiety, may potentially affect your level of happinness. In fact, in a survey conducted by Blinds Hut, over 80% of Brits said that clutter negatively affected their mood.
If that isn’t enough to make you rethink your surroundings, read on for more.
Clutter and Physical Health
It’s not just our mental health that is affected by too much stuff. A cluttered environment can influence behaviour without us even realising it.
“People with a cluttered bedside table are likely to have a more interrupted sleep, go to sleep later and wake up earlier,” says Cath Hindle, an organiser and decluttering expert from Clear the Clutter.
Ever wondered if the chaos at home is one reason why you just can’t seem to lose weight?
It turns out that clutter influences your food choices and can make you consume more unhealthy food than you would in a non-cluttered environment.
Peter Walsh, author of Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? was quick to notice a correlation between weight gain and the amount of stuff that people had in their houses.
Dust, mould and animal dander, that all collects in a cluttered environment can increase allergies and affect asthma, and injuries in the elderly are more common in cluttered homes.
Clutter and Relationships
As if that wasn’t enough, clutter can also increase social isolation.
Almost 48% of people questioned in the Blinds Hut survey said that clutter had stopped them from having someone over to visit. 
Last of all, clutter seems to make children’s behaviour more unruly and it puts relationships under stress. Over 66% of people said that they argued about clutter with their partner.
What can be done?
The answer is simple. Decluttering should be a priority in our lives. Not something that we think we’re going to get around to doing one day.
Clutter really does have a negative impact on your health in many ways.
The combined mental, physical and social effects of living in a cluttered home might be enough to make you feel very negative and stressed about your life.
I surveyed 740 people and found that the most common reason people give for not decluttering is lack of time.
The irony of course is that less clutter in our lives would give us back the time that we so crave.
This is just an overview of how clutter affects your health – there are many more articles and studies online that support the ones I have listed here. Decide today that you’re going to reduce the clutter in your home, and discover how much better you feel in a clear and tidy house.
If you would like some structured help and support, I run a course twice a year to help you get control of your surroundings and your schedule. You can find out more here.
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