Table of contents:

How Clutter Affects Us and What to Do About It
How Clutter Affects Us and What to Do About It

Scientists have found that trash in the house can cause constant stress.

How Clutter Affects Us and What to Do About It
How Clutter Affects Us and What to Do About It

Where does the mess begin?

A mess appears when too many things accumulate in the house, and as a result, the space becomes cluttered and disorganized. Researchers have found that this can cause constant stress, even if you yourself do not notice it.

Psychology professor Joseph Ferrari studies the causes of clutter in the home and its effect on emotional well-being. With other specialists, he conducted a study among three age groups - students, adults 20-30 years old and the elderly.

Volunteers were asked to answer questions like “Are you paying your bills on time?” To determine their procrastination rate. One should not forget about its influence when it comes to the disorder in the house - after all, many hate to sort out papers and things and get rid of unnecessary things and therefore constantly postpone this activity. Putting documents into folders or cleaning a dining table piled high with books - all of this takes effort and time.

The researchers then examined the participants' general well-being in terms of how the mess in the house affected their lives. People were asked to rate how they fit statements such as "I am depressed by the mess in my apartment" or "I have to clean up everything before I do something."

As a result, scientists have confirmed a strong connection between procrastination and problems with the order in the house in all three age groups. At the same time, the mental decline, which is caused by the clutter of the home, manifests itself more strongly with age, and the reasons for this state in the older generation are often dissatisfaction with their lives.

How clutter at home is related to stress

Lack of order in the home can trigger physiological responses, such as raising levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

A 2010 study looked at Los Angeles couples in which both parents worked and had at least one middle school child. Scientists found that women who admitted that their house was full of rubbish, and understood that all this needs to be cleaned, the level of cortisol gradually increased during the day.

Moreover, a sufficient level of stress was observed in them already in the morning. For those who did not worry about the disorder - this was the majority of men - the level of cortisol in the evening, on the contrary, decreased.

Experts suggest that this is due to the fact that cleaning the house usually falls on the shoulders of the wife, and the fact that it has to be done after the working day. And those men who do housework do not usually spend as much time cleaning up as their spouses.

In the next study, experts monitored cortisol levels during the day and evening, at a time when stress should decrease and a person should be in recovery. It turned out that everyone perceives disorder in their own way.

Not all participants were annoyed by the shoes scattered in the hallway, or the piles of papers on the coffee table. But again, women complained more than men about clutter and clutter, and their stress levels remained high.

Experts began to find out why such a strong emotional response is noted in this case. And they associate this with the fact that the concept of home as a place where we come to rest and gain strength has long been fixed in society.

But, if you live among the rubble of things, these expectations are not met. And it is very difficult to relax if in the evening there is still a bunch of rubbish waiting for you to be taken apart.

How to get rid of junk

Being able to finally take on the hard work of getting rid of unnecessary things is a skill that many people suffering from disorder try to educate in themselves.

Joseph Ferrari noticed that the trash in the house is often the result of an excessive attachment to things, which in the end becomes too difficult to part with. For those who find it difficult to force themselves to throw away or give away something, he recommends using the following two methods.

1. Don't touch what you want to get rid of

Do not even lift the thing from where it lies. Have someone else pick up a pair of your trousers and ask, "Do you still need them?" If you touch them, you are unlikely to dare to throw them away or give them to someone else.

2. Don't bring home too much

Make a conscious effort to accumulate less initially. Before you buy something, think if you really need it? Or will it only take up extra space in the house?

Once you've brought something home, it becomes even more difficult to part with it. Because we quickly become attached to the things that we already own. Ferrari argues that most of what we store we don't really need. “We were imposed on other people's desires and turned them into a necessity,” he says.