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How has clutter directly impacted your life? I think the majority of people are amazed and

horrified when they watch “hoarder” shows where the clutter has gotten out of control and

spills out of every crevice in the home. No one intends to live this way. However, it can be easy for our messy molehills to become mountains. For those of us who are not ultra neat-freaks and who don’t keep a perfect Type-A home at all times, staying on top of our clutter takes constant maintenance, re-organization, time, and self-discipline. AND it is worth it!

Tackling your messes may need to become a priority if you would like to avoid the following

side-effects. Here are a few reasons you will want to terminate that Clutter-Bug out of your




Our piles of stuff and our messes actually raise the stress hormone of cortisol in our bodies. This is the fight or flight hormone that pours a river of inflammation into our bloodstream. When inflammation increases, your immune system decreases, and you are vulnerable to countless health issues. This can range from something as simple as getting the flu or the common cold, to life-threatening heart conditions and cancer. Therefore, it is key to keep your inflammation and cortisol levels low. According to Dr. Rick Hanson, chronically elevated cortisol can actually make structural changes in your brain that make you more sensitive and susceptible to stress. By tidying up you can actually become healthier by reducing your stress, inflammation, and cortisol.


Clutter affects those you live with. Not only does it leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, but it also puts a huge strain on your relationship with your significant other, and/or it can cause your children to become more anxious and frustrated. Rather than living in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, you have an atmosphere of stress and contention. A cluttered home can also isolate you. You are less likely to invite people into your home when it is a disaster and you can feel embarrassed and ashamed of how your home looks. A tidy home can make you a confident, welcoming host and add to a tranquil atmosphere for those you live with.


Okay, not directly. However, the Huffington Post states that clutter overwhelms the brain, which causes us to resort to coping mechanisms such as overeating. People living in cluttered homes are also more likely to make less healthy food choices because the clutter causes them to feel stressed and overwhelmed. An Australian-American study showed that when a person’s environment is chaotic, they actually eat more cookies and snacks. A disorganized and messy atmosphere puts a person in a low self-control mindset. The act of tidying up can decrease mindless snacking, help you drop some pounds, and empower you to make more quality food choices.


The time thief comes when we have too much stuff, or when we can’t find our stuff. Clutter is often the result of having more possessions than we use, need, or love. Time can disappear by having to spend a lot of it managing and taking care of all of that stuff. As a result, we have less time for other, more important things. People who live in cluttered homes spend extra amounts of time daily looking for lost items, such as keys, outfits, tools, etc. The extra time it takes to search through the mess adds up quickly. The seconds you spend each day and hour being distracted by the clutter eventually take their toll on what could be very productive time spent elsewhere. Valuable time and energy are lost whether it be at work, at home, or in relationships.


Shocker alert! - clutter is distracting! It causes our brains to shift into a multitasking mode which is not compatible with the ability to focus. While multitasking and having “organized chaos” may sound impressive, it tremendously increases the amount of time taken to complete tasks. Clean up your environment and watch your productivity sky-rocket!


Honestly, who needs more procrastination in their life? Procrastination is closely tied to clutter, because sorting through and tossing items is a task that many people avoid and find unpleasant. Staying organized and on top of things does take time. At its core, clutter is procrastination. Allowing clutter is setting something down with the idea of dealing with it “later”. If your office or home is cluttered, you’re most likely procrastinating with other things as well. Cleaning up your messes will help you to overcome the habit of putting things off and will set you on a new successful track of dealing with things in the moment, not “later.”


Let’s face it, it’s difficult to feel great about yourself when everything around you is in shambles and disarray. Clutter impacts your feelings of contentment and how much pleasure you take from being in your home. It is very common for people who live in chaos to struggle with feelings of shame and inadequacy. A consistently messy environment can also put a person into such a low self-control mindset that they feel not only unmotivated but disempowered to be able to create change in their life. These feelings and this tone can negatively hinder other areas of life.


Hoarders are known to spend more money on things that they don’t need because

1) they are not aware that they already have them, and

2) things break down faster when people do not take care of the things that they do have. Needless fees can also burn your funds up as it is more common to accumulate unnecessary late fees. It is difficult to pay your bills on time if you don’t know where they are.


“Mental clutter” is when the mind can't prevent accumulating unnecessary and irrelevant information. University of Toronto's, Lynn Hasher, proposed a number of years ago that mental clutter is one of the prime suspects in the cause of age-related memory losses. When your neural networks are clogged with too much information, you become slower and less efficient in processing what is in your brain. This interferes with our short-term memory tasks (such as, “What did I come upstairs for?”) and long-term information you should know (such as remembering people’s names). An orderly environment can actually help clear the fog in our brains and keeps our thinking in top working order.


When you have a life filled with messes it is very difficult to engage in the present. Clutter is a way of clinging to the past. At one point our clutter actually served a purpose. However, when we continue to hold onto things that are no longer currently useful or valuable, this can imprison us in our past.

Clutter ultimately affects every area of our lives – our health, our wellbeing, our relationships, our brains, our finances, our productivity versus our procrastination levels, and our ability to be present.

What are some easy ways to tackle our chaos?

SIMPLIFY – Go through a Marie-Kondo purge of everything in your home that you don’t use, don’t need, or doesn’t bring you joy. We need much less than we have. You will be AMAZED at how good you feel with a simplified, orderly environment!

HIRE IT OUT – You can greatly benefit from hiring a professional personal organizer. If tackling your messes is too much effort, or too time-consuming it can be worth it (for your own health, wellness, relationships, peace of mind and home), to pay for this gift of self-care.

SCHEDULE TIME EACH WEEK / STAY ON TOP OF IT! – Once you are organized, it does take time and consistent effort to keep it that way. Make it a priority. Things happen when you book time for them and your health, well-being, and quality of life are worth it!

RECOGNIZE YOUR CLUTTERIt is important to develop an awareness of when something that was once useful and valuable to you, no longer serves you. Be mindful of when past things are no longer useful in the present and start to encroach on your life. Learn to deal with clutter right away and you will stay in the present.


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