The Cost of Clutter

January 5, 2014

How Does Clutter Affect You? What Level of Clutter is Realistic?

By Elizabeth Scott, M.S. Updated June 02, 2013


Clutter... Most of us have a little of it here or there. In fact, many of us have more than just a little: According to a poll conducted on, over a third of readers avoid going home because of the overwhelming mess and don’t know where to begin cleaning. (In contrast, less than 10 percent say their homes are clutter-free.) How is all this mess affecting us?


Time: People often think of clutter as an energy drain, but it also drains us of our time. How? People in cluttered homes spend extra time virtually every day looking for lost items such as keys, money, shoes, tools, etc. Even when we’re looking right at the lost item, it becomes difficult to see it when surrounded by clutter--and the extra time it takes to search through the mess adds up quickly.


Money: When we don’t have bills and financial papers organized, bills can get lost, causing us to accrue late fees. Replacing lots items, and buying duplicates of those we didn’t realize we already had, can also carry a cost that adds up quickly.


Stress: The most obvious toll that clutter takes is added stress on one's life. Here are some examples of stress clutter can cause:

•Having guests over becomes an embarrassment, or an event that takes all-day preparation.

•Each room carries visual reminders of all the work that needs to be done in the way of cleaning. •Using your home for activities like scrapbooking or yoga becomes difficult or impossible without taking significant time to clear the space.

•According to the principles of Feng Shui, clutter drains you of your positive energy. You can actually feel it.

•A cluttered home, rather than a haven from stress, is a big stressor in itself, and intensifies the frustration and exhaustion that an already-stressed person feels.

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