The Science of Clutter: How Clutter Affects You

  • A woman reads a book in a clean and uncluttered home.
Your brain doesn’t like clutter.

Researchers at Princeton University found that clutter actually tires our brains out, making it difficult for us to focus and concentrate. Whether it’s at our desk or in our living room, clutter competes for attention with whatever it is that we want to be doing.

Another study, done at UCLA, observed 32 families in the Los Angeles area. It found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time of day when they had to deal with clutter.

A third study also examined the topic in 2016. Called “The Dark Side of Home: Assessing Possession ‘Clutter’ on Subjective Well-being,” the study found that we often try to make ourselves feel at home with our belongings.

The problem with that, according to the study, is that when we have an overabundance of stuff, it causes us to feel overwhelmed and makes it difficult to be efficient and organized.

Why Does Clutter Stress Me Out—and What to Do About It?

If we want to be calmer, more efficient, and more organized in our daily lives, we need to declutter our surroundings.

Rachel Jones is a mother of six and founder of the blog “Nourishing Minimalism.” You can find hundreds of different suggestions for decluttering your home online, but she suggests two different (and very simple) approaches.

The first is to simply set a timer for 15 minutes every day. Start small—tackle just one drawer, shelf, or section of a room. Then, work 15 minutes a day until that’s done.

You could start even simpler than that by joining her Decluttering Challenge which seeks to get rid of 2,018 items in a year. Download her chart (or make your own) and simply cross of one square each time an item is given away, thrown away, sold, or recycled.

You can organize all you like, she says, but if you have too much stuff you will always have clutter.

Self Storage Units Near You

It doesn’t always make sense to just get rid of everything. Maybe you’re saving some things for your children or are planning another baby. There are lots of valid reasons to save things. The problem occurs when these items end up taking over our homes and making daily life chaotic.

If that sounds like you, you might consider renting a self storage unit. At StorageMart, we offer affordable self storage units that can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well lit. Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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