Being messy isn’t a disorder but there are psychological effects to living amidst chronic clutter. Overstimulation is a known cause of anxiety and other negative impacts.
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Overstimulation occurs when the senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch, and other senses – are maxed out. Too much stimulation can lead to anxious feelings and associated feelings like anger, depression, and more.
Living in a cluttered or disorganized environment can add to the stress levels amongst the whole family. Here’s how:
Kids thrive in structure- Disorganized homes tend to be highly unstructured. From running around looking for clean clothes to eating take-out because there is not enough food to make a meal, disorganization causes unnecessary stress.
Order creates calm- Being at home should feel peaceful. Having a pleasant environment free of clutter and overstimulation helps families disengage from the world and re-charge for a new day. If the home is in chronic disarray, it is hard to recharge.
Subconsciously your mind is assessing the dishes, laundry, unfinished projects, and other signs of clutter. The sense of things being undone can trigger anxious feelings of overwhelm.
Families are a team- If one member of the family is expected to carry the lion’s share of responsibility, it can cause resentment and fatigue. Sometimes people check out when they feel unsupported. Families are a team, and everyone should be contributing to the welfare and care of the home. Even stay-at-home parents need support with home maintenance and responsibilities.
Disorganization wastes time- Being disorganized robs families of time. Time to recharge and connect with one another. Spending time looking for lost items makes people late getting out of the door.
The scramble to clean up for unexpected company or devoting an entire day to catch up on laundry can cause undue anxiety and cause you to miss out on fun activities that bring you joy.
Disorganization causes embarrassment- Living in chaos or overwhelm can cause embarrassment. Missing appointments due to a disorganized schedule can cost time and money. A co-worker asking for a ride might result in an uncomfortable situation when your car is piled with food containers and tossed-aside clothing and sports equipment. Having company in your home when it doesn’t truly reflect who you are can make you feel uncomfortable and avoid hosting guests.
Being disorganized costs money- Families who are not organized tend to eat out more often, spend more on clothing and other items, and fail to stay within their means. This stress can affect marriages and the tension can run over onto the children.
Being organized makes it possible to manage a budget and keep track of important items. It prolongs the life of clothing and other frequently used items. Overstimulation is a cause of anxiety.
Sitting on your sofa after a long day, staring at yesterday’s dishes doesn’t promote relaxation. Scrambling to find your kid’s shoes when you are already late for work won’t get your day off to a fresh start.
There are real psychological consequences to clutter and chaos. You can improve your mental health by becoming clutter-free and organized.