declutter · simple living

Why is a Cluttered House so Stressful?

You stand outside the front door.

Put the key in the lock and walk inside. 

All that you can see is the dishes on the side of the sink. The coats falling off the coat hooks. Shoes cluttering up the bottom of the stairs. The overwhelm rising each day. The frustration and anxiety becoming ingrained into your life.

I’m sure that I am not the only one who has felt the feeling of overwhelm when they’ve walked in their home. 

Science and Clutter

  1. A UCLA study found, after conducting research on 32 families, that mothers had higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) when sorting out their home. In fact, there was a direct correlation between more possessions and increased cortisol.
  2. Princeton University found that individuals were less productive, the more possessions they had around them.
  3. Digital clutter, the constant sounds of notifications especially, decreases brain processing and functioning.
  4. The more ‘things’ the brain has to process, be that digital, mental or physical, the slower brain functioning is. Which leads to the feelings of anxiousness and lack of motivation.

So, now that Science has told it’s story, it is no wonder that so many of us walk into the house and feel so overwhelmed and stressed. Our brain’s are not created for excess! Much of our brain has sensory stimuli, therefore, when the brain is over stimulated by too much clutter/emails/text messages/pairs of jeans, it is no wonder we struggle to process. Our brain does the equivalent of a computer with too many tabs open!

So what do we do? 

Since we can only process around 1% of visual stimuli, we need simplify and declutter. This will rejuvenate, energise and refocus our brains again. The fatigue that we feel when the kitchen looks like it got ransacked by a toddler, it may well have done, is our brains way of telling us it needs less.

So lets own less, clear the clutter, minimise what we own, and reduce the feelings of despair, anxiety and frustration.- Science has told us so! 

“Don’t own so much clutter that you would be happy to see your house catch fire.”


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