Clutter in one’s home or work space can cause stress (Bourg Carter, 2012). One may feel anxious or overwhelmed by the mess in one’ environment and thus can be a significant source of stress that may go unrecognized. Eight reasons for why mess causes stress have been identified: it creates excessive stimuli which makes our senses work harder, draws attention away from what one was focusing on, makes it more difficult for one to relax, signals that work is not done, makes one anxious about how long it will take to clear the clutter, brings up feelings of guilt or embarrassment, prevents creativity and productivity, and causes one frustration when items can’t be located in the clutter. Fortunately, one can easily fix clutter by utilizing several strategies: get family involved to declutter, designate spaces for quick access to items, toss, recycle or donate items that are not used, wanted or needed, put items back in their designated space, create a pending folder, store papers needed and toss what isn’t need so that papers don’t pile up, keep workspace clear of clutter, and make cleaning fun. Furthermore, physical clutter isn’t the only type of mess on may have in their life. Mental clutter can also lead to stress which can be reduced by focusing on one task at a time and removing electronics that cause distractions (Bourg Carter, 2012).
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, there are many options available, including professional counseling. Please call us at (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services.
Author: Melissa Genn, MS, LBS
Bourg Carter, S. (2012). Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies