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Do You Have A Cluttered House Or Room? You Are Not Alone, Many Do!

Some Insights On How This Affects You And What To Do. Living with Clutter can affect our morale, how we feel about ourselves; cause us to be confused or anxious in thoughts, draining our mental and physical energy; it can affect our work performance and outlook on life. It also isolates some people because they don't feel at liberty to socialise much or have guests come to visit them.

I found a few helpful articles on this topic which relate to Mental and Physical Health that may be helpful.

What does clutter do to your brain and body?

An expert in organisational behaviour examines the effects disorganisation.

By Libby Sander

Many of us have started the year determined to be more organised: no more drawers full of plastic containers with missing lids, or lone socks.

The decluttering craze is led by Japanese tidying aficionado Marie Kondo, author of a New York Times bestseller and Netflix show, Tidying Up.

Charity groups such as St Vincent de Paul are reporting a 38% increase in donations, year on year, as we get rid of the clothes, books and household items that don’t ‘spark joy’ or have a place in our future.

And there is good reason to get on board, whether it’s via the KonMari method, or just having a good clear-out. Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus.

It can also make us less productive, triggering coping and avoidance strategies that make us more likely to snack on junk and watch TV shows (including ones about other people decluttering their lives).

My own research shows our physical environments significantly influence our cognition, emotions and subsequent behaviours, including our relationships with others.

Why clutter is bad for your brain
Bursting cupboards and piles of paper stacked around the house may seem harmless enough. But research shows disorganisation and clutter have a cumulative effect on our brains.

Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganisation drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus.

The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.

In 2011, neuroscience researchers using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and other physiological measurements found clearing clutter from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, as well as increased productivity.

And your physical and mental health
Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed. Research from the United States in 2009, for instance, found the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered.

A chronically cluttered home environment can lead to a constant low-grade fight or flight response, taxing our resources designed for survival.

This response can trigger physical and psychological changes that affect how we fight bugs and digest food, as well as leaving us at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart conditions.

Clutter might also have implications for our relationships with those around us. A 2016 US study, for instance, found background clutter resulted in participants being less able to correctly interpret the emotional expressions on the faces of characters in a movie.

And surprisingly, it doesn’t go away when we finally get to bed. People who sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and being disturbed during the night.

Could clutter really make us overweight?
Multiple studies have found a link between clutter and poor eating choices.

Disorganised and messy environments led participants in one study to eat more snacks, eating twice as many cookies than participants in an organised kitchen environment.

Other research has shown that being in a messy room will make you twice as likely to eat a chocolate bar than an apple.

Finally, people with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight.

Tidy homes have been found to be a predictor of physical health. Participants whose houses were cleaner were more active and had better physical health, according to another study.

Hoarding can cause physical pain
Buying more and more things we think we need, and then not getting rid of them, is an actual disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM–V). According to DSM–V, those with hoarding disorder compulsively acquire possessions on an ongoing basis and experience anxiety and mental anguish when they are thrown away.

A Yale University study using fMRI showed that for people who have hoarding tendencies, discarding items can cause actual pain in regions of the brain associated with physical pain. Areas of the brain were activated that are also responsible for the pain you feel when slamming a finger in a door or burning your hand on the stove.

People who suspect they have hoarding disorder can take heart: cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment.

Research does indeed show cluttered home environments negatively influence the perception of our homes, and ultimately our satisfaction of life. The study authors note the strong effect is because we define ‘home’ not just as a place to live, but as:

The broader constellation of experiences, meanings, and situations that shape and are actively shaped by a person in the creation of his or her lifeworld.

Article Source HERE

How Clutter Can Affect Your Health

Too Much Stuff

If your closets are bursting or your desk is topped with piles of disorganized papers, you may want to take some steps toward a neater home or workspace. While a bit of chaos might have some upsides -- at least one study suggests that a messy room spurs creativity -- it has many more downsides. It can even be damaging for your physical and mental health.

Mess Equals Stress

When everything is in order, you know exactly where you put your glasses and keys so you can grab them and go on with your day. That saves time and a whole lot of hassle. In one study, women who saw their homes as cluttered had high levels of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day, while those who described their abode as a well-organized, restful space had lower levels.

It Doesn’t Get Easier

If you're a bit scatterbrained because your space is scattered, don't wait to neaten up. Research has shown that adults in their 50s who have too many piles of stuff are more likely than younger folks to put off making decisions about what to get rid of. The study also found that those piles can make you less satisfied with your life.

Your Mind Wanders

It's hard to focus on important tasks when several things compete for your attention. Researchers have found that being around disorganization makes it harder for your brain to focus. It can be especially tough for people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). If you have ADHD, a professional organizer or coach may be the best way to restore some order to your space.

Pass the Tissues

There's a reason people often call knickknacks "dust collectors." Too much stuff makes it harder to keep your space clean. If you're allergic to things like dust mites or pet dander, decluttering should make it easier to dust and vacuum and get symptoms like sneezing, wheezing, and itchy eyes under control.

Embarrassment and Isolation

A neat, tidy house feels inviting, both for the people who live there as well as guests. A cluttered home may feel the opposite. But shutting people out can take a toll on relationships and make you feel sad and lonely. That could be one reason a hoarding disorder tends to overlap with depression and anxiety disorders.

Slips and Falls

Living with lots of clutter puts you at risk of getting injured. When your floor is covered with boxes, heaps of clothing, or even too much furniture, it's that much easier to trip. Shelves stuffed to the brim with books and knickknacks can also be a hazard if something falls off or a piece of overloaded furniture topples over.

Neatness and Generosity

A more organized environment may make you more caring toward others. In one study, volunteers who filled out surveys in a neat room were more likely to say they wanted to donate to a charity compared with those who were questioned in a messy room.

Memory Issues

Some people who live in cluttered homes have a poorer "working memory," according to research. Your brain is wired to be able to keep track of only a few details at once for a short period, so it can get overloaded when there’s too much going on.

Linked to Weight Gain

People who fill their homes with so much stuff that they may have a hoarding disorder also appear to be more likely to overeat and become obese. One study found that as hoarding got worse, so did body mass index (BMI) and binge-eating symptoms (eating large amounts of food in a short time).

Up All Night

People who have a hoarding disorder also seem more likely to have insomnia. The link between the two isn’t totally clear, but sleep is important for clear thinking and decision-making. If you're sleep-deprived, you might be more likely to make questionable decisions, including ones that involve getting more stuff you really don't need.

Article Source HERE

Easy Steps to a More Organized Home

Even small efforts to declutter can lead to tidier spaces

We love to think about decluttering and organizing. But we don't always love to do it.

People watch The Home Edit on Netflix to see pantries and bookshelves organized in a rainbow of colors and messy garages and bedrooms transformed. They look to Marie Kondo to organize their closets and drawers by tossing items that don’t spark joy.​

But it can be hard to get around to decluttering in real life. It often feels overwhelming, like there’s no time to take on a big project that will overhaul a space. But the reality is that a few small steps can help jump-start the effort and may even improve your mental health just as much as your home.​

“The more clutter you have, the less happy you tend to be,” says Joseph Ferrari, a professor at DePaul University, who along with his research partner has studied the negative impact of all that stuff. “The more you have, the less life satisfaction people report.”​

Simple Ways to Declutter Your Spaces

  1. Start by removing trash.
  2. Begin by choosing one small area to organize — like a drawer.
  3. Sort items into three piles: Keep, donate and toss.
  4. Find a specific home for everything you intend to keep — for example, a hook for your keys.
  5. Group similar items together, instead of storing them in multiple places, so you always know where to find them.
  6. If you buy something new, pledge to get rid of something else to limit items in your home.
  7. If you're holding on to items to pass to the next generation, ask your heirs if they want the items. Be prepared for them to say no, and be gracious.
  8. Don't try to do everything all at once. Schedule limited amounts of time to work on decluttering and organizing on a regular basis.

Article Source HERE

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