It often doesn’t take much to realize a cluttered space can affect how we feel when we’re in and amongst it, but researchers at UCLA have confirmed a scientific link between clutter and depression.
In a study of 32 Californian households, UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families discovered a number of insights into the relationships between the objects around the home and the mental health of the families living in them. The results have been published in a book titled Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, a fascinating look at how the space in middle-class American homes is used.
Amongst the most enlightening discoveries is the fact that cortisol, the hormone associated with stress and present in most animal species, is noticeably higher in women who have a large number of objects around the house. While it’s a useful hormone to have in certain situations (without it we would feel no natural caution when doing things such as crossing a busy road, standing next to a steep drop or during other life-or-death situations), a buildup of this hormone in non-dangerous situations causes us to feel anxious, fearful and unhappy when there is no reason to be.
Interestingly, the cortisol level in men stays relatively steady in a cluttered environment, so it’s easy to see why tension between partners could be more likely to boil over when there are differences of opinion on a household’s clutter.
If you feel your house could do with a declutter, one useful option is the sealed-box technique. This involves placing a number of items you don’t use or don’t feel particularly attached to into a box and storing it away for a while.
After a decent amount of time has passed, if you still haven’t opened the box or missed the items in it, simply leave it closed and donate them to charity. You’ll rest assured knowing you’ve made some space and pleased someone else!
Please comment below with some of your decluttering tips.
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