Science Says Seeing Clutter Messes Up Your Brain

If you’ve been binge watching the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” like the rest of us, you’re probably at least thinking about trying to clear the clutter from your home. Unless you’re a minimalist, you probably have a bunch of disorganized stuff in your space but living in that clutter can be stressful for your brain. So if you need a little motivation to clear the clutter in your place, check out these effects it has on your brain.

You're overloaded by stimuli - When there’s a lot of stuff in the area you can see, it causes our senses to work overtime on stuff that isn’t necessary or important, psychologist Sherri Bourg So basically, too much clutter overwhelms the brain.

Your stress levels skyrocket - There’s a link between living in clutter and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A study found that for heterosexual couples who live in cluttered spaces, women tend to have higher cortisol levels than normal and so did the men who did the housework.

You have a lot of competing agendas - Sorting clutter can pull your brain in a bunch of different directions at once and that can be bad for cognitive functioning because it’s hard for the brain to sort out whether to tidy this first or put that away. So the clutter makes decision making tougher.

Your attachment to your possessions can be overwhelming - We hold onto our stuff because we have memories, love, and our hopes for the future invested in them, but it turns out, too much of that “possessive love” can be bad for the brain. According to one study, personal attachment to objects can make us feel more “at home” in a space, but too many of them can do the opposite. Clutter was found to make folks feel negatively about their space, like they’re drowning in a sea of stuff. Sound familiar?

Your judgment becomes less reliable - Another study found that our brains work differently when we try to make judgments in cluttered spaces, we tend to make the wrong call and are less confident in our choice than we should be.

You become more impulsive - Messy surroundings could lead you to do more Internet shopping than you planned. A study found that people sitting in cluttered rooms were more likely to say 'yes' to purchasing things impulsively than folks seated in tidy spaces.

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