Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
2:00 AM 21st March 2023

How Does Clutter Affect Our Mental Health?

Image Unsplash
Image Unsplash
This week marks the beginning of Spring Clearing Week, an annual nationwide campaign run by the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) aimed at helping the UK to declutter.

Now in its sixth year, the theme of Spring Clearing Week 2023 is ‘improving your space, mind and mood for better mental health’. By sharing valuable advice and practical guidance, APDO members will be promoting the benefits of clearing your home for your mental health, and helping others to access the tools they need to clear the physical clutter in their lives and improve their overall wellbeing.

Marie Bateson
Marie Bateson
Marie Bateson, Volunteers Director for the APDO (and Founder of Preston-based Cut the Clutter) draws on her experience in the professional organising industry to share her insight on the impact of clutter on our mental wellbeing.

The Relationship Between Clutter and Wellbeing

Clutter and a lack of organisation can make us less productive; we develop avoidance strategies, we are more likely to snack on junk and watch TV shows (especially about other people decluttering their lives). Our behaviour and relationships might suffer too.
Research shows disorganisation and clutter have a cumulative effect on our brains.

Our brains are drained when surrounded by clutter, even if that is just what we know to be lurking in the junk drawer, garage, spare room. Brains like order, and constant clutter reminders hinder our ability to focus.
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 ( So it also applies to that messy desk or office too.

Image Pixabay
Image Pixabay
Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed. Research has also found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered.

We know how important sleep is to our health and wellbeing, and sadly 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.

How can decluttering positively impact our mental health?

So, let’s look at the benefits of clearing your spaces:
It will give you a sense of confidence in your ability and decision making.

It will reduce anxiety and induce calm. When there is very little order it makes us feel anxious and out of sorts.

It will give you more energy. You will sleep better and have more time for exercice.

It will reduce stress. How many times have you cursed because you cant find your keys or your child's school reading book?

It allows you to relax, have more me time, let people in for visits, do things you enjoy. All positive things on your mental health.