A messy home makes your brain think life is hard, plus other ways it impacts your life

September 21st, 2020

Clutter is a problem in many households. Whether you have dirty dishes in the sink, empty boxes shoved into corners, or trash lying around until garbage day, it can add up. When it does, you’re left with a household that will absolutely shatter your mental health.

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Even experts agree that clutter isn’t good for…

You might be thinking that clutter is small potatoes compared to the stresses and problems at home, at your job, or around your neighborhood. But clutter in your home can be one of the leading causes of stress and frustration in your life.

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Here’s what Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter had to say in an article for Psychology Today.

“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives,”

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The 8 ways that clutter affects your life

Carter’s article summarizes her findings with 8 simple realities of clutter.

  • Excessive clutter causes our senses go into overdrive
  • Seeing clutter distracts us from our goals
  • Relaxation is more difficult when surrounded by clutter
  • A messy home signals to our brains that we have a lot of hard work to do
  • Figuring out how to clean and organize our clutter often causes anxiety
  • It’s hard to feel productive and creative when surrounded by mess and clutter
  • Clutter makes it harder to find what we need, especially in emergencies
  • Mess and clutter takes space away from our homes, which can make you feel cramped
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It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it

Anyone who has tried spring cleaning will tell you that it’s not easy. Cleaning clutter and messes brings you closer to dust, trash, and debris. Depending on what kind of messes you have, it may be gross or bring you closer to dust and other issues.

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But de-cluttering your life begins with one easy step.

Why wait for spring, when cleaning can start today

Don’t wait for spring to sweep up your home. You can make a big first step by deciding which room you’ll clean out first. If you can’t decide, then try choosing the room most important to you. For most households, that is likely the kitchen, bathroom, or living room, since those are where many people spend most of their time.

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A checklist for solving the clutter problem

Once you choose the room, give it a deep cleaning. Here are some handy tips to get you started.

  • Throw away anything you don’t plan on using, even if it hurts.
  • Sweep, mop, and scrub any messes or stains.
  • Don’t forget to check under rugs, carpets, and furnishings.
  • Give yourself at least a full day to focus on the job.
    Bonus points if you do it before trash day, so you can get the junk out fast.
  • Get the people you live with involved. It doesn’t hurt to ask close friends and family for help.
  • Optionally, you could even take before and after pictures to motivate you.
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Do this for every room of your home and you’ll soon have a neat and orderly space all your own. Just don’t expect immediate results. If your clutter has been collecting for months, then you may need several days to clean it.

What about professional cleaning services?

If you have the money to spare, you might consider hiring a cleaning service or junk crew to pick up the mess for you. That decision is up to you, but here are a few things to consider.

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  • Having help, especially reputable professional help, can undo the mess fast
  • Some cleaning services will remove the trash for you, saving you the frustration
  • If you work from home, this option lets you work while your home is being cleaned


  • Some people find it stressful to have strangers touching their things, even if it’s junk
  • Cleaning services can cost a lot, especially if they require contracts or have one-time service fees
  • Children may not learn the value of cleaning up clutter, if someone else does it for them
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How to keep your home de-cluttered

Once your home feels orderly and comfy, you’ll want to figure out how to keep it that way. After all, cleaning is only half the battle.

The following tips will make your life easier.

  • Create specific spaces for your items. For example, consider making a space for shoes by the front door.
  • Keep unused items in closed spaces. Out of place pants or shoes can lead to the start of a clutter pile
  • Throw away things you don’t need or use. Board games, books, or movies that haven’t even been opened in a year can be tossed!
  • Don’t let messes stack up. Clean your dishes as soon as you can for that nice sense of closure and clean.
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Source: Erica Layne, Motherly, Psychology Today, Scary Mommy