We’ve all had that moment when we look around a say ‘how did it get this bad?’ Clutter can easily snowball into something out of control – whether you were ill one day and couldn’t face tidying up or have simply been so busy that sorting out is the last thing on your mind. But living in a cluttered environment can have some surprising negative effects on your mood, your attitude and your general mental health – and only a good de-clutter and organising can put it right. Getting rid of the clutter in your life can make you feel more focused, help you relax and aid productivity, not to mention just make you feel happier in yourself. How? I’ll tell you:
What Clutter Does To Your Brain
When you were a child, I bet your mum always told you to tidy your room, or your teacher told you to straighten your desk. At the time you probably found it annoying, but now science can back up their good intentions and nagging. Using MRIs and other sophisticated scientific tools (whose names I can’t really pronounce), researchers have found out that clutter affects your brain’s ability to concentrate and process information. UCLA’s Centre on Everyday Lives and Families explored the relationship between 32 families and thousands of ‘clutter’ objects in their homes. Their research conclusively proved that clutter has a strong effect on mood and self-esteem, with women getting particularly stressed out by clutter. They said it was rather like multi-tasking, except instead of overloading your brain with lots of things to do at once, you’re overloading your senses, making you feel stressed and unable to think creatively.
Why Will You Feel Better After A De-Clutter?
So, clutter is bad, and it really does affect how we feel within our own homes or workspaces. It robs you of your mental energy, leaving you feeling tired, anxious and overwhelmed. So, what can de-cluttering your home do for your mental health?
Improved Concentration. Clutter ruins your focus and interrupts your ability to concentrate. Instead, your attention is drawn away from what’s important and onto the pile of things you need to sort out. Getting rid of the clutter means fewer distractions and makes it much easier to concentrate.
Less Stress. The research has found that the presence of clutter can contribute quite dramatically to your base stress levels. In fact, the CEFL study found that the amount of stress experienced at home was directly proportional to the amount of stuff the subject and their family had accumulated. So the more clutter, the more stress. This was found more in women than men, but it did affect both. Having a good clearout can make you feel calmer and take a huge burden off your shoulders.
Boosts Productivity. We’ve all become distracted by clutter at one time or another. We either sit and think about the huge amount of stuff we need to sort through or (if you’re like me) use it as an excuse to do something other than what we’re meant to be doing. Take away the clutter and you take away the distractions, boosting your productivity and energy.
Improved Breathing. Among other things, clutter is a haven for dust and germs. Cluttered homes tend to have more issues with allergies, dust-based irritation and brain fog, clouding your mind and making it difficult to do things. Clearing the clutter will allow you to keep the area clean, reducing dust and letting you breathe a little clearer.
Reduced Negative Self-Talk. Clutter is a constant, nagging reminder that your work is never done. This reinforces negative self-talk, encouraging you to think that you are lazy or a procrastinator. It’s also a constant ‘should’ hanging over your head – you should sort out but you haven’t – which can make you feel guilty. The only way to get rid of this negative thought spiral is to get rid of the cause – the clutter. Your brain loves order, so having an organised space will encourage positive thoughts and emotions.
While a little chaos can be beneficial, especially for creatives, the human brain is wired to respond positively to order. If you’ve ever blitz cleaned a room one day, you’ll know that feeling of deep satisfaction when it’s done and the room is clean and tidy. That’s not just the feeling of a job well done – it’s a physiological response to order. It’s easier for the brain to deal with organised spaces, so it doesn’t have to work so hard, leaving you feeling calm and energised. Want to feel that? Let me help you organise your home and your office. After all, a VA isn’t just for business! For more information just get in touch with me today.