Clutter really can affect how our brains work, and as such how we feel, which has massive implications for things like happiness and productivity. So how, and why does clutter happen? With increasingly busy lives it’s difficult to stay on top of everything, and with most of our time dedicated to working outside of the home, the hours we do spend at home are both few and precious.
Lack of time, combined with increasingly smaller homes and a consumerist desire to own more and more ‘stuff’ together only serve to exacerbate the problem, letting clutter slowly accumulate. Even those with the best intentions can be at risk of clutter, as they collect and save things with a view to making use of them at some point in the future.
When you are around something day after day, it’s easy to become essentially blind to it. You know it’s there, so after a while, your brain no longer needs to pay active attention to it, and it’s this selective attention which allows clutter to build up.
The thing is, even when we no longer consciously see clutter building up in our homes, our subconscious is fully aware of it. Our brains are calculating the effort needed to clear it all up, to sort it out or to dispose of it, creating a sub conscious, distracting burden.
When Princeton Neuroscientists carried out research into the area, they found that those carrying out tasks in clutter free, well organised physical environments were more efficient.
Actual physical clutter in a room distracts you, demanding attention from your brain, and even if that attention is all subconscious, it’s still tying up processing resources, making you less able to carry out tasks.
Of course some people claim to thrive in a cluttered environment and this may well be true for some creative types whose environment helps to inspire them into creative expression, but for most of us, this just isn’t the case, and clutter in the home really can have a negative impact on happiness and efficiency.
If you have been inspired to declutter and create a more ordered home, you don’t have to get rid of everything you own, instead you might want to think about renting a self storage unit.