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Is Clutter Affecting Your Health? The 5 Surprising Dangers Of A Messy Home

26 March 2019

We are living in ‘the most materially rich society in global history, with light-years more possessions per average family than any preceding society’ (BBC). While our desire for more stuff is, in part, driven by necessity, it can quickly spiral out of control, creating a clutter crisis and affecting our physical and mental well-being. According to a study commissioned by Oxfam, ‘clothes are most likely to be cluttering up our homes, followed by CDs, books and toys, totalling 143 unused items stashed away in a typical household’ (The Express).

If you’re beginning to feel suffocated by stuff but lack the motivation to make a change, we’re here to help. In this blog, we explore the unforeseen dangers of clutter and offer ways to clear the clutter chaos once and for all.

The Dangers Of Clutter

1. Encourages unhealthy eating habits

A study into the relationship between clutter, chaos and overconsumption conducted by academics, Lenny R. Vartanian, Kristin M. Kernan and Brian Wansink, found that being in a disorderly and distracting kitchen can promote overeating and the making of unhealthy food choices (Weight Watchers).

Unfortunately, our inclination to overindulge isn’t just affected by how disorganised our kitchens are but rather our environment as a whole. A similar investigation into the association between physical order and healthy choices established that participants who worked in a tidy space were twice as likely to choose to eat a healthy snack compared to those working in a messy space (Psychological Science).

2. Threatens your safety

When stuff accumulates, storage space wears thin and your belongings begin to take over any available area of the home, your safety could be in jeopardy.

Common clutter-related safety issues include:

  • blocking exits during an emergency
  • providing more fuel for a fire
  • risk of injury from items falling onto you

3. Stops you from getting things done

Clutter can be stressful and distracting. Why? As the amount of ‘stuff’ around you builds, the more each item competes for your attention, hampering your ability to focus (NCBI).

Clutter and disorganisation is also a big problem in business, affecting employee productivity and costing managers up to 10% of their salary. One of the major time wasters at work is paper clutter, with studies revealing that the average person wastes up to 4.3 hours a week looking for the documents they need.

4. Can trigger allergies and asthma

One of the leading causes of indoor allergies and asthma is dust mites. These microscopic mites thrive in unclean and cluttered environments: the more stuff you have, the more dust collects and the more dust mites are present.

5. Threatens sleep

According to clinical psychologist, Pamela Thatcher, the more clutter you have, the more likely you are to have a sleeping disorder. What’s the connection? When you’re surrounded by mess, your mind has trouble switching off and this ultimately encroaches on your sleep. You may think that you’re able to ignore the mountainous clutter scattered across your bedroom, but subconsciously, these items serve as a constant reminder of all of the things you need to do.

How To Declutter And Live A Healthier Life

1. Try the Marie Kondo method

Inspired by Netflix’s ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’, people across the country have been decluttering their homes and donating their unwanted items to charity (BBC).

If you don’t have Netflix, don’t worry, here are some tips to help you declutter the Marie Kondo way:

Tip 1 - Sort through your stuff by categories not rooms. There are five categories you should address: start with clothing, then books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental belongings.

Tip 2 - As you are rifling through your things, deciding what to keep, donate and ditch, ask yourself whether each item sparks joy. If the answer is no, it’s time to go.

Tip 3 – To respect your belongings and maximise storage space, try the KonMari folding method. Here are some videos to help you fold t-shirts, underwear and socks.

2. Invest in self storage

Decluttering is a difficult but necessary part of life. But what do you do with those items that you may need in the future, those items you’ve been collecting since you were a child, those items that your partner hates but you adore or those items that you want to keep until the time (and price) is right to sell them? For all of the items that you can’t bear to part with, there’s self storage: your room away from home.

If you’re in search of self storage, consider SureStore. At SureStore, we provide a range of flexible and affordable self storage solutions to meet all of your home and business needs, a professional team that genuinely cares, and a facility that comes equipped with the latest technology to ensure the safety and security of your belongings. Apply for a Quick Quote online or contact us today to see how we can help.

3. Don’t neglect digital clutter

It may be easier to ignore, but digital clutter is also dangerous, inducing stress and affecting productivity. To tackle digital clutter head on, practise digital minimalism. Here are a few starters for ten:

  • If you’re receiving spam emails, unsubscribe before deleting them. This will ensure that you don’t receive similar messages in the future.

 

  • Take a look through your downloads folder and be ruthless. A lot of the items in this folder have short-term returns (restaurant menus, pictures, job descriptions) and will likely be no longer useful or needed.

 

  • Take to your social media platforms and unfriend/unfollow anyone or anything that no longer makes you happy and adds value to your life.

For more information and tips on all things self storage, from how it can help you to stick to your resolutions to how it addresses corporate social responsibility, check out our blog.

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