How A Cluttered Home Can Impact Mental Health

inside rendering of head, copperry color, gears shown

My experience as a decluttering expert and professional organizer has shown me there is a disconnect between cluttered homes and cluttered minds. The two often go hand in hand.

Using myself as an example I can tell you that if you happen to visit my home and the entire home is clean at the same time it is because my mental state was flustered. When I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and or irritated I tend to pull areas in my home apart and clean.

Generally when I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and irritated it is because my daily activity is not going as planned or the way I want. An example is what I am working on is not coming together, my dogs got in a mess, a friend is in trouble, these kinds of things.

Because I know the best antidote to despair is action I clean. I think the reason cleaning calms me and lifts my mood is because I am seeing productivity. I am a results oriented person. For me busy hands are happy hands and this leads to stuff getting done.

The Connection Between Your Physical and Mental Well-Being

Let’s talk about something we often overlook, the state of our living space and its potential impact on our mental well-being. It’s a topic that might carry some stigma, but it’s important to remember that our surroundings and our mental state are closely connected. Here’s why.

I am not suggesting you either have physical or mental clutter issues all the time, I am saying most of us have some periods of time we feel less than stellar and not at our optimal performance level.

pic of woman standing behind a floor mirror hugging mirror from behind

External Reflection of Internal State

Your living space often mirrors your mental state. When our minds are cluttered with stress or anxiety, it’s common for our physical environments to become cluttered as well. This isn’t a judgment; it’s a reflection of the human experience.

The Clutter-Mind Connection

A cluttered environment can contribute to feelings of overwhelm, making it difficult to focus, relax, or find peace. It’s not that a messy home causes a cluttered mind or vice versa; rather, they often exist in a cycle, reinforcing each other.

Have you ever just decided on the spur of the moment to empty a closet, declutter contents, clean closet and replace the things you are keeping? I do. This small win feels really good especially if nothing else is coming together that day or string of days. This is an example of a clutter-mind connection.

Reducing Stress

Tidying up and organizing your space can have a therapeutic effect on your mind. It’s not about achieving perfection but creating a space that promotes calmness and reduces stress.

For me it is worth the extra few minutes at the end of a day to clean up, no matter how beat I am. Why? Because I feel better in the morning seeing what I think of as a clean slate on a new day.

Clearing Mental Space

Just as cleaning your living space can clear physical clutter, engaging in mindfulness or therapy can help clear mental clutter. Talking about your thoughts and feelings without judgment can be immensely beneficial.

Sitting by yourself knitting your problems together in your head in an endless cycle is not productive. Finding like minded people to find solutions together is productive.

I read the old adage of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ was borne out by the study, which showed that when people share worries with others, it can really improve their situation.

Empathy and Support

It’s crucial to approach this topic with empathy and understanding. Everyone’s experience is unique, and struggles with mental health are common. I dream of a day when we can discuss mental well-being and are met with support and compassion, free from judgment.

There’s no shame in acknowledging the connection between your living space and your mental well-being. It’s a part of being human. Taking small steps to declutter your environment and seeking support when needed can make a significant difference in your overall quality of life.

People may resist the idea that their minds are cluttered for several reasons, even if they acknowledge physical clutter in their environments. The following are some of the key factors that contribute to this resistance.

Fear of judgment

People might fear that admitting to a cluttered mind implies weakness or incompetence. They may worry about being judged by others or themselves for not having their thoughts and emotions in order.

Lack of awareness

Not everyone is aware of the connection between physical clutter and mental clutter. They may not realize that the disorganization in their physical space can contribute to stress, anxiety, and mental clutter.


The idea of tackling mental clutter can be overwhelming in itself. When people are already feeling mentally overwhelmed, the thought of addressing it can seem huge, and they may avoid it as a result.

graphic rendering of lady covering her eyes in denial


Some people may have a difficult time admitting that their minds are cluttered because it can be seen as a reflection of their internal state. Denial can be a defense mechanism to avoid facing underlying emotional or psychological issues.

Cultural and societal pressures

Some cultures and societies place a high value on productivity and efficiency. Admitting to mental clutter may be seen as a weakness or a failure to meet these expectations.

Attachment to possessions and habits

People often form strong emotional attachments to their possessions and habits, even if they contribute to clutter. Letting go of physical clutter may require letting go of these attachments, which can be emotionally challenging, especially sentimental stuff.

Lack of knowledge or tools

Some individuals may not know where to start when it comes to decluttering their minds. They might lack the knowledge or strategies to effectively address mental clutter.

Perceived time constraints

People may believe that they don’t have the time to address their mental clutter. They may view it as a lower priority compared to other responsibilities and commitments.

Fear of change

Decluttering, whether it’s physical or mental, often involves change and discomfort. People may resist change because it can be unsettling, even if it leads to a more organized and peaceful state of mind.

Emotional barriers

Mental clutter can be closely tied to emotions, and people may resist addressing it because doing so requires confronting difficult feelings and experiences. They might be afraid of what they’ll uncover when they start to declutter their minds.

For the person filled with fear and experiencing strong emotions it is strongly recommended to work through these things with a mental health professional.

It sounds too simplistic to state the obvious – if you had a broken leg you would seek medical treatment. So why not treat mental health issues the same. This is your life, the quality of your life!

Perceived complexity

Some individuals may view the process of decluttering their minds as complex and confusing. They may not understand how to organize their thoughts and emotions effectively and might think it’s beyond their capabilities.

Teeny little tips from those in the know and Ah Ha! moments can change your entire day and outlook.

Lack of motivation

If people don’t see the immediate benefits of decluttering their minds or if they don’t have a clear understanding of how it will improve their lives, they may lack the motivation to make the necessary changes.

This is very easy to understand. Many folks are working way too hard at their paying jobs, raising families and caring for parents, that they hardly have time to think, let alone care for themselves.

Habitual thinking patterns

Over time, people develop habitual thinking patterns, even if those patterns are cluttered or negative. Breaking these patterns can be challenging, as the mind tends to default to what is familiar, even if it’s not beneficial.

Calling yourself stupid and other self deprecating things is self defeating and should be stopped now. When you hear a lie enough times you begin to believe it. I assure you, you are not stupid.

Start small

Small steps is key to decluttering your minds. Something as simple as finding a breathing technique is very easy to learn. Other easy mindfulness techniques include setting aside a few minutes each day for journaling.

Mindfulness tools

Managing emotions, and improving mental clarity can be learned. To name a few, mindfulness tools can include meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or journaling exercises. These things, done consistently, over time will improve your mental health.

A supportive environment

Again finding a community of like minded people is a great first step. I have been a member of and started communities of like minded people. When deciding to go through a particular program, I knew it would be far more beneficial to do this with others, rather than alone.

I put a call out on Facebook naming a date and time to meet. At least a dozen people showed up. Some were friends and some were people I did not know, that have since become my friends. We meet week after week, we all benefitted enormously and stay in touch to this day.


Some of the many positive outcomes of decluttering the mind, can be reduced stress, improved focus, better decision-making, enhanced overall well-being and peace.

Be patient

The process of decluttering your mind can take time and effort. This is not a quick fix. As you work through your mental clutter consistency is required, as is patience with yourself.

Recognizing and addressing your mental clutter will lead to greater emotional well-being, improved productivity, and a more organized and peaceful life. This is a valuable journey and requires patience and support along the way.

There is a solution

There are too many techniques for organizing thoughts, managing emotions, and improving mental clarity to describe here. An easy place to start is with journaling.

There are many organizations ready to help you or point you in the direction of where to start. Mental Health America is one such organization to call if you are in need of help.

The National Institute for Mental Health is another organization to seek help.

This author is not a medical professional. Far from it. These are simply areas of interest to me.

Mental Health issues are serious and should not be suffered alone or in silence. Please let go of feelings of shame and seek professional help. You deserve this!

pic of author

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

To see more articles like this, please like and follow me. Thank you!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *