There are many reasons to dislike clutter but the most important one is because of the way it makes us feel. Excess possessions can really affect your mood and your sense of well-being in a negative sense. There are many reasons to account for the way clutter makes us feel.
Enter at your Own Risk
Firstly it restricts our physical movements and activities. If there’s too much furniture in a room, particularly around a doorway, then we can’t enter or leave freely. If we have to squeeze past a sofa, or sidestep a coffee table, or dodge around a large house plant, it turns a smooth entrance into a feat of physical agility! If our desk is so cluttered that we don’t have the space we need to pay a bill, reply to a letter, or do some work, then this immediately puts us on the back foot. Instead of controlling our activities, we are fire-fighting.
You’ve Lost It!
Clutter also makes us lose things. Car keys, wallets, remote controls, combs and mobile phones are the objects which seem to get lost most frequently. In my experience they are most likely to be found down the back of the sofa, under the sofa, or behind the sofa! My sofa is like a venus flytrap devouring everything in it’s path! However clutter can enable us to lose almost anything, from a book to our winter boots. Not being able to find things is not only frustrating, but it can also make us late for important appointments.
When people have visitors they tend to have a big tidying session before they arrive and this is generally due to the embarrassment caused by clutter. Not putting things away when you’ve finished using them causes most of the problems, along with inadequate storage and keeping things we never use. Whatever the cause the end result is the same; we all dread an unexpected visitor because it makes us feel as though we’re not on top of things. Don’t you curse the person who drops in unannounced and catches us out in all of our shameful disarray? I know I do.
Chaos Equals Danger
The final and most important reason that clutter makes us feel so bad is because it messes with our heads. It just feels wrong. All humans desire deep down to create order out of chaos, because chaos equals instability and instability equals danger. We want to feel in control of our lives because we sense that it’s essential to our survival. Which is why the disorder of our excess possessions makes us so uneasy.
In his book 59 Seconds: Think a Little Change a Lot, (full disclosure affiliate link) Professor Richard Wiseman says “Those who do not feel in control of their lives are less successful, and less psychologically and physically healthy, than those who do feel in control.”
Get On Top
With this many compelling reasons to feel bad because of our clutter, it only makes sense to do something about it. So buy some storage, put things away as soon as you’ve finished using them, and don’t hang onto objects you will never, ever use. Wrest back control of your life and then feel the power of being in control surge through you. It’s a great feeling!