Clutter Really Does Cause Anxiety

As they say “cluttered house, cluttered mind“; and it’s true.

We don’t have a large house (80 square metres), and the storage space within the house isn’t huge; so a lot of stuff just “sits around”.

Sometimes I stand in the kitchen and look into the lounge (which is all of ten steps away) and I can feel the panic rising up in me. The floor might be clear but the couches take up half the lounge, and then there’s the book shelves FULL of stuff; most of which are kids things. On the couch is usually a basket of laundry that I have to fold and the table usually is full of kids things (until I find some random place to put them – usually on the book shelf).

We try to clear out as much as we can, so our garage ends up being full of stuff.

If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) you will see me clearing shit stuff out all the time; it’s almost a monthly thing that I have to do to keep on top of things.

Then things can sometimes go backwards when the kids go into the garage and find stuff they haven’t seen for a while and then bring it back into the house … ?

Some days I sit in despair at how small our house is; I feel trapped. I feel like I could open all the doors and windows and still feel like I’m in a box.

This sounds weird, but as much as I hate clutter and mess, my bedroom is an utter pigsty. It’s actually really out of character for me, and more of something my husband would do but I’m terrible for throwing clothes on the floor and using the whole floor area as a “floor-drobe” (instead of the actual wardrobe). Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not clutter, that’s me being messy haha

I know we are lucky in the fact we have a house, don’t get me wrong. And I know our house is bigger than others; but I still struggle.

The view from my kitchen to the lounge


Psychologists say that clutter most definitely plays a role in how we feel about our homes, and ourselves. Messy and cluttered homes can make us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed.

Here are some of the reasons clutter can cause us such grief (taken directly from Psychology Today):

  1. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
  2. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
  3. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
  4. Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
  5. Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
  6. Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organised”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
  7. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
  8. Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).
When we have kids over it can feel even smaller


When I was researching and read the above points, I felt a little bit of relief knowing that my issues with clutter weren’t just “in my head”. They were a legit reason as to why some times I get overwhelmed in these four walls.

Obviously a way to get through it is to tidy up, but honestly sometimes the thought of tidying up when you have no where to put things can be extremely daunting.

I try to live by a “if I haven’t used it in a long time, I probably don’t need it” rule; but we all know there’s a part of us that’s “maybe I’ll use it one day” so we also have to battle that at the same time.

My friend recently went on a mission to clean up her house and instead of doing it in one day, spread it out over the week and worked on one bit at a time.

I think this is a great idea – there’s no need for your house to be absolutely perfect within a certain period. Just work on different areas one day at a time.

Minimise the clutter. Remove any mess and anything you do not need.

And as always, if you are experiencing anxiety and it is overwhelming, please chat to your GP. They may be able to help more than you know!

Do you experience anxiety around the clutter in your house? 


Clutter Really Does Cause Anxiety

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