This isn’t new news.

It seems that there is some science telling us that clutter may lead to anxiety.

Yes I certainly believe it.

Now not everyone gets worked up when they walk into a space that has clutter and stuff everywhere.

But a lot of people do.

How frustrated and overwhelmed do you become when there is too much stuff piling up?

Papers all over the counter. Folded laundry on the kitchen table. Dishes in the sink. Toys seemingly everywhere.

It can be enough to drive one mad.

According to Psychology Today

“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives,” Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter wrote in an article for Psychology Today.


8 Ways Clutter Can Cause Anxiety

joy of less

There are 8 main ways that having too much clutter can contribute to anxiety.

  • Clutter overwhelms us because it causes excessive stimuli so our senses go into overdrive
  • It distracts us from other things we’d like to focus on
  • It makes it harder to mentally and physically relax
  • It signals to our minds that our work is never done
  • It also causes anxiety because we have to think about how we are going to clean everything up
  • It can impede productivity and creativity
  • It makes it harder for us to find what we need and takes up space for doing other necessary things on our list

For women especially this can cause higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is a main contributor to weight gain.

According to a study conducted by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families, women who live in cluttered homes have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Men, on the other hand, do not suffer from stress as a result of clutter in the home at nearly the same levels as women do.

So what can you do to reduce the clutter and the anxiety?

Decluttering Tips


Here are some tips on decluttering to help you get started on having a clean and more organized space.

  • Get your family involved in cleaning. If you’re on your own, start in one space at a time before you move on to another so that you don’t get overwhelmed and can feel accomplished as you progress.
  • Create a specific space for your items so you’re more likely to keep the item in its designated space. It’s best to keep items in closed spaces so you don’t have to look at it.
  • Throw away things that you don’t use or that you don’t need. If you haven’t opened it or used it in a year, toss it!
  • Clean up your mess after you make it. It will give you a nice sense of closure and will be clean when you return to it.

There are lots of best selling books on Amazon that can help you get started and give you a plan for decluttering.

You may also be interesting in the topic of Minimalism, which is about learning to enjoy your life with less stuff.

Do not aim for perfection.

Start small and do the best you can.


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7 thoughts on “Clutter and Anxiety

    1. Awesome! So glad to hear this.

      I will be going through my closet this week and getting rid of a lot of clothing. It should be interesting. I have a lot that needs to be decluttered and deowned!

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