5 Science-Backed Reasons that Clutter Makes You Anxious

Feeling anxious? Clutter could be the culprit! Here are five ways clutter makes you anxious, according to science, plus some helpful tips to start decluttering your life today.

If you’re like most people who struggle with anxiety, you prefer to stay at home instead of spending time outdoors. Surprisingly, studies show that stepping out of your house regularly can actually ease your anxiety.

In one study, researchers found that people have higher cortisol levels while at home compared to when they’re at the office. We also know that we feel less anxious when we spend time in nature instead of lying on the couch.

So why do we feel anxious in our own homes, a place where we’re supposed to be safe and comfortable? It could be due to uneven distribution of house chores and idleness, among many other reasons.

How Clutter Makes You Anxious

One anxiety trigger that stands out is house clutter. According to research, people experience high levels of tension and distraction when surrounded by physical clutter. Here is why the clutter in your house or desk may be making you anxious.

1. Clutter makes you feel like there’s always more work to do.

Your mind can’t be at ease if you’re surrounded by the mess in your home or office. Your brain will assume that you always have work to do, which can trigger anxiety.

2. Clutter makes it hard for you to focus.

Our anxiety fades away when we deeply focus on something. Unfortunately, clutter takes away our ability to focus and keeps the mind in a constant state of distraction.

3. The uncertainty of sorting through clutter makes us anxious.

You may feel anxious when you’re sorting through clutter, because you’re not sure what you’re going to find. In this study, cortisol levels went up when people started sorting through clutter.

4. Clutter makes it hard to locate items.

It will take time for you to find items if your house or desk is messy. The process of searching through the mess is frustrating and can make you anxious.

5. Clutter makes us feel guilty.

We tend to feel guilty and embarrassed when people visit us and find the house messy.

How to Declutter

All of this is actually good news for you, if your house has clutter. It means you can ease your anxiety by decluttering. Here are various ways you can declutter.

Hide the clutter.

Are you too busy to sort through the clutter? Simply hide it in the storeroom or in a basket, so you won’t see every day.

Pay someone to declutter.

If you’ve been putting off cleaning the mess in your house for a while, chances are you’re not going to do it. Pay someone to clean up your house once a month, if you can afford it.

Donate it.

Do you have stuff in your house that you don’t use? Donate it. It’s a good way to declutter and help others.

Make the essentials more accessible.

Since sorting through the mess makes you anxious, put the items you use regularly somewhere you can access them easily.

Ask your family to help declutter.

Involve the entire family in cleaning up the mess, and assign everyone a role.

Put things back where you found them.

Return things where you found them to prevent clutter from building back up.

Image via Getty

66 comments

Kevin B
Kevin B18 days ago

thank you for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Kathy K
Kathy K2 months ago

Thanks.

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Anna R
Anna R2 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Ingrid A
Past Member 3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Beverly S
Beverly S3 months ago

So very true. I need to do another clothing and "stuff" purge soon. Feel so much better - freer, lighter - afterwards.

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