Cluttered Home? This Could Be Harming Your Relationships

By Debra Smouse for

Many of my clients first meet me through their desire to shed clutter. Some of them discover that because of overflowing closets or the inability to walk through a room without tripping over something. Others discover it when the credit card bills arrive after Christmas and they realize they spent a lot of money on stuff that they don’t love—and certainly don’t need.

What if I told you that clutter distracts you from reaching your new year’s goals? Let’s take it a step further: What if I told you that clutter actually damages your relationships? When we hold on to clutter and spend our time looking for our keys or digging through a pile of clothes in order to find something suitable to wear, it drains us of time and energy to put towards new goals and resolutions.

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Here are 12 major ways clutter hurts our relationships:

1. Clutter saps energy meant to go to our relationships. The draining of that energy toward our goals means the energy we could be putting towards are relationships is also drained.
2. Clutter is a barrier to connecting with those we love. It not only builds a physical wall around us, it builds an emotional wall around anyone’s ability to get close to us.
3. We don’t invite guests into our worlds. We can’t share our spaces with friends and loved ones, because a last minute guest would mean the herculean task of getting the house in shape. Alternatively, we rush around and shove things under beds and in closets.
4. No one can relax surrounded by messes.There’s also the underlying energy of stress in a home where there is clutter. That energy you want to put towards romance, loving each other and relaxing is disturbed.
5. Intimate relationships suffer when there’s clutter. I’ve seen many relationships teeter because of too much stuff. You trip over it, you have to move it aside, and you’re constantly shuffling.
6. Clutter is a barrier to sex and intimacy. No one feels romantic in a messy bedroom.
7. Clutter causes arguments. The underlying tension due to too much stuff increases tempers.
8. Clutter invites the blame and shame game. Whether one or both parties in the relationship are guilty of adding to the clutter, arguments lead to finger pointing and blaming. It also leads to shaming the partner who is the “messy one”.
9. Too much stuff usually equates to too much shopping. Even if the physical clutter isn’t to the point of tripping over it, all that shopping drains our finances.
10. Excessive shopping often leads to deception. More often than not, the person who is the shopper begins lying about the purchases. So, not only do you have a home that is filled with things you don’t need or love, there is an undercurrent of deceit in how the item came to be in your space.
11. Children learn that their worth is tied to stuff. When we live in excessive clutter or using shopping and stuff as a way to show love, children grow up believing that their value is tied to stuff not who they are.
It can get to the point when the stuff seems more important than the relationship.

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But how do you reverse the effects of clutter, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the physical clutter in your home? Here are six quick tips to begin making space in your world:

1. Clean off your desk so that you can work and think more clearly.
2. Clear your closet of things that don’t fit or you don’t love. The goal is to have a closet only with items that fit properly and portray the image you desire. Haven’t worn it in a year? Donate it!
3. Create sacred space in your bedroom. Clear all the flat surfaces and ditch the exercise equipment (unless it’s used regularly). Having too much stuff in your bedroom blocks intimacy.
4. Ditch the guilt and excuses to shed more clutter. Often we hold onto items because of how much we paid for something or because it was a gift. Don’t let guilt keep you buried!
5. Create a purgatory for unloved or unwanted stuff. There are going to be those items that you’re not sure about, so create a space to store that stuff. Choose a corner of the basement or garage or one room designated for excess. Then, put a date on your calendar to discard anything you haven’t retrieved from the space!
6. Create a 30-Day List. When you get the urge to buy something, put it on a list and wait at least thirty days before purchasing. Often, the urge will pass.

Feeling like you need a little help? Vow that 2014 is the year you will get organized? 30 Days to Clarity: Clutter Busting Edition may be the answer you need. Each day, you receive an email with a clutter busting task that will take you less than thirty minutes. It begins May 04, 2014.

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Your dreams and your relationships deserve a solid foundation of good, clean energy. What better way to move into the new year than with a lighter heart and clearer vision of what you want in your beautiful life than to clear out the clutter that’s distracting you?

Debra Smouse believes in creating a daily life that you love and that busting clutter is part of the path to get there. Visit Debra’s website and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Bust Clutter To Improve Your Marriage & Home Life.


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson4 years ago

Good points but no real suggestions.

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Really related?

Ashley heffner
Lady Suki4 years ago

My home is very cluttered.

Ashley heffner
Lady Suki4 years ago

Uh oh.

Susanne P.
Susanne P4 years ago

The 30-days-list would be a great idea if it was for free!

At the moment, I feel a little overwhelmed with my clutter at home, and it's hard to find the energy after a full hard day at work, and the place where to start. The effect of small actions are hardly to be noticed and don't give you the boost of energy to continue.... but times will get better, I rely on that!

Barb Hansen
Ba H4 years ago

love the 30 day list idea. thanks.

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

I always rather enjoy going thru my stuff. It's a way to see how my ideas and emotional responses have evolved over time and then it's easy to know what things to let go.Simplifying with ease, compressing memories into a few items, and knowing I won't be leaving my daughter with loads of stuff to sort thru , is very satisfying .

Robyn Rae
YOLANDA H4 years ago

good article

elaine lovegrove
elaine lovegrove4 years ago

Oh dear! It's worse than I thought!