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Clutter and Depression

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The Link Between Clutter and Depression?
No formal studies have been done on the link between clutter and depression, but when I look at the symptoms of depression–this list from the National Institute of Mental Health–I see direct cause and affect relationships. Here are depression symptoms, followed be clutter effects.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions: Causes difficulty in sorting, organizing and prioritizing.
Fatigue and decreased energy: Maintaining order takes energy, it’s as simple as that.
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness: Hard to find the desire or wherewithal to conquer a mess when feeling helpless.
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping: Again, maintaining order takes energy.
Irritability, restlessness: It’s nearly impossible to tackle a tedious sorting project when irritable and restless.
Overeating or appetite loss: Both weight gain or hunger-induced lethargy are not conducive to cleaning.
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment: Pain makes you want to lay down, not sit at a desk and go through a mountain of paper.
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings: The bottom line, it takes enthusiasm and determination to battle clutter.

I’m not suggesting that clutter be officially added to the list of symptoms for depression (I also understand that there is a broad range of types of depression)–but looking at the ways in which symptoms of depression can impact the potential to clutter, I don’t know how people suffering from depression can avoid disorganization.


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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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10:38AM PDT on May 25, 2015


12:16PM PDT on Apr 15, 2015


4:43AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

The information in this blog is extremely useful for the people. social anxiety treatment

11:28PM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

My mother used to get angry when she entered my messy room. I didn't understand why. Now I feel claustrophobic when things aren't put away. Funny how that inheritance crept up on me. Decluttering takes time, but the sanity is worth it.

2:53AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

It is overwelming to have clutter. Sometimes you have a tough time knowing where to start.

11:27PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013


7:16PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

I have clutter only because I do other things and I don't want to clean up.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

My living space is not large and there is what some would say...clutter... around. Since it is not hoarding and there are not clothes, papers, boxes and what not all over the floor...I just live with it as I know where most things are.

As long as a home is kept clean and fairly organized then live with what one is happy with.

If one finds things overwhelming if in a mood to clear things then tackle a small portion at a time especially if living with clinical depression.

Have a lot of knick knacks around, little treasures like small wooden boxes, a batch of milkweed seeds and colourful red leaves along with tiny geodes, pussy willows to name but a few.

The floor is kept clear and my blind cat easily navigates around with her whiskers and enjoys the pot of catnip that is placed by her tree stand (she no longer climbs it but the visiting kitties love it). Both of us are cozy in our cluttered albeit kept neat and tidy atmosphere.

5:05AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Interesting article , but sometimes clutter cannot be avoided due to lack of space!

4:01AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

gr8, thx

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